Shropshire Star

Council tax discount over unadopted estate refused

A resident requested a council tax discount because certain services were not provided in his area, but was turned down, a report says.

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The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman ruled in Telford & Wrekin Council's favour

“Mr X” moved into a house on a “housing development not yet adopted by the council” – meaning the authority was not responsible for roads, footpaths, streetlighting there – in 2019.

A report by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman says he appealed to them after Telford and Wrekin Council rejected his argument that he should pay a reduced rate.

In its anonymised decision notice, the watchdog declines to investigate and backs the council, saying “council tax is a community charge for council services provided as a whole”, not a “contract for services”.

Summarising the case, the LGO investigator writes: “Mr X moved into a new property in September 2019 and has paid his council tax bill since then. The property is on a housing development not yet adopted by the council.

"He says that, during that time, the council has not maintained the roads, footpaths, street-lights, park or allotments. Mr X asked it to compensate him for the services that have not been provided.

"Council tax is a community charge for council services provided as a whole and is based on property values. The council told Mr X that it cannot reduce the amount of council tax he must pay or compensate him for any services he is not currently receiving.

“Council tax is not a contract for services and Mr X has a legal obligation to pay it.”

The report adds that Mr X also says “the council has failed to follow its complaints procedure as its response was late”.

“While we would expect the council to respond in accordance with its complaints policy, I do not propose to investigate this issue further,” the decision notice says.

“I do not consider any failing in the complaints procedure alone has caused significant personal injustice to warrant our involvement.”

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