LETTER: ‘Forced option’ on cheques

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Like many people, I have recently received my Council Tax account for 2017/2018. For the second year running I notice that there are no instructions on how to pay by cheque.

When I questioned this with the council the reply I received was, “We do not actively promote Council Tax payment by cheque as the handling and processing of them is an extremely costly method of receiving payments and in order to protect our services and keep our costs down, we need to reduce costs and make savings wherever possible.”

I think it doubtful that payment by cheque is an “extremely costly method” bearing in mind the cost of data inputing generally but, even if it were, I suggest it is not lawful for the council to actively discriminate against those who still want to pay by cheque.

The relevant Act(s) do not give the council the right to arbitrarily stipulate a certain method or methods of payment. It smacks of what was known as a “forced option” which is an illegal practice in many fields of activity. Certainly, at the very least, arbitrary non-information flies in the face of a caring council.

Perhaps if the council (officers and councillors) are so concerned about costs they should concentrate a little more on collecting the £2,251,224.09 of Council Tax still currently outstanding from the previous three years.

Bearing in mind the legal weapons the Act(s) give the council to collect such sums, which include the attachment of wages and salaries, perhaps we could be given an explanation of how this amount remains uncollected.

HUGH WEIR

Southdown Road