Tower Hamlets resident threatened with court action over 79p unpaid council tax

The woman owed 79p in council tax

The woman owed 79p in council tax - Credit: Archant

A woman was threatened with court action over 79p owed in council tax.

Cllr Peter Golds

Cllr Peter Golds - Credit: Archant

Tower Hamlets Council issued the warning after she made a mistake when writing a cheque, putting down the pounds she needed to pay but not the pence.

And that oversight could have seen her hauled in front of magistrates - as well as costing her £90.

The woman, who does not want to be identified, raised the issue with her councillor, Peter Golds, after receiving the letter.

“She was writing out the cheque and left off the pence,” he said.

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“All that was left off was 79p. I couldn’t believe it.

“You can just imagine getting a summons through your letterbox, and it’s council tax for 79p.”

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The debt related to the 2017/18 tax year, which saw band D residents charged £1,246.82 for the year.

Those in the lowest property band were charged £831.21, while those in the highest band faced a bill of £2,493.64.

The Island Gardens Conservative councillor raised the issue with the council two days after his constituent received the summons, which ordered her to appear at Thames Magistrates’ Court.

Cllr Golds questioned why someone would not have picked up on the tiny amount and questioned it before the summons was issued.

He added: “There was 79p and £90 in court costs. The council are now going to have to pay the court costs.

“If it had been £790 then get them in court. But not 79p.”

A letter sent to Cllr Golds, which has been seen by the Advertiser, stated that the summons was “inadvertantly issued” and said that the council had apologised to the woman concerned.

A council spokeswoman said: “As this was a complete administrative error, an apology and cancellation of the summons was actioned right away.

“The court costs have been covered and we have waived the 79p.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.”

And although the womam’s debt has now been settled, Cllr Golds added: “She should not have had to go through it.”

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