CABINET CALL: By South Holland District Councillor Peter Coupland
For this column I’m going to focus on how the council deals with Council Tax support and Benefit fraud.
South Holland District Council collects around £48 million in council tax bill demands on behalf of the Lincolnshire County Council, district council, parish council and the Police and Crime Commissioner.
With government austerity plans still in place, we need to ensure all is done to collect council taxes due and clamp down on residents committing fraud by not paying their correct council tax and by wrongfully claiming state benefit.
We have a department dealing solely with fraud committed in the district. Many of our fraud cases result from confidential information given to us for our investigation.
I want to make it clear that people who commit benefit fraud and Council Tax Support Fraud are stealing money from Council Tax payers in South Holland.
They also run the risk of prosecution and financial penalties, in addition to having a legal obligation to repay any money fraudulently claimed.
If you suspect that someone is committing Council Tax Support fraud please phone our fraud hotline on 0800 002 008. Calls are strictly confidential and kept anonymous.
Council Tax Support Fraud is committed if you make a claim for Council Tax Support based on information that you know is false or inaccurate.
You will also be committing Council Tax Support Fraud if you knowingly fail to tell us about:
Money you receive and any changes to it
Money held in bank accounts, savings and investments and changes to them
Changes to the number of people living in your household
Someone starting work which could reduce the amount of Council Tax Support
A change in income which could reduce the amount of Council Tax Support.
Housing Benefit fraud is now being dealt with by The Department for Works and Pensions.
If you suspect that someone you know is committing Housing Benefit fraud please telephone the National Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.