Council tax in Wellingborough to be taken FOUR DAYS early in second cock-up this week

The council has issued an apology this evening

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 8:10 pm
Image: Northants Telegraph

Council tax payers in Wellingborough have been warned tonight their monthly payment will be taken tomorrow instead of on November 1.

But this evening (Wednesday, October 27) the authority issued a statement to warn people in Wellingborough that their council tax will be taken out of their accounts tomorrow (Thursday) instead of on Monday (November 1).

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Concerns were raised on social media earlier today when people in Wellingborough began to report that their online banking was showing their direct debit was due to leave their account tomorrow.

Some who contacted the council were told that it would not be taken early, but their banks insisted that the mandate had been changed by NNC.

The council has now admitted an error has occurred and that, despite knowing about it, they cannot recall the request and so the money will be taken early.

The authority did not reveal how many people were affected although there are thought to be about 40,000 households in Wellingborough. It may leave those who do not get paid until the last day of the month in a financial pickle. Although the authority said those suffering financial issues and bank charges should get in touch with them, there was no immediate promise of financial recompense for those affected.

In a statement, NNC said: "North Northamptonshire Council would like to apologise for Council Tax direct debits being collected two business days earlier than scheduled for residents living in the Wellingborough area.

"Instead of Council Tax being collected on November 1, residents affected will see their Council Tax payment transferred tomorrow (October 28). Unfortunately, the council was not able to recall this request through the banking system. For those affected, a further payment will NOT be taken on November 1.

"The authority became aware of the issue this afternoon. It is working to address the situation and is encouraging anyone who may be suffering from financial difficulties as a result of this early payment or has been charged by their bank as a result of this early payment to make contact, via the council’s website.

"The council is investigating how the error happened but can confirm that it is unrelated to the issuing of incorrect summons in the Corby area."

Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council, said: “We cannot apologise enough for this payment being taken early and any distress which may have been caused.

“I have requested that a review takes place urgently to ensure that this does not happen again but our first priority is to ensure residents are aware of the situation and do not worry unduly.

“I would urge anyone who has a concern or is suffering from financial difficulty as a result of the early collection to make contact with us and we will help you through the process to ensure no one is left out of pocket.

“It is very unfortunate that there have been two errors regarding Council Tax collection in the same week but they are completely unrelated.”

The Council has set up an information page on its website to help customers affected.

Residents affected are reminded that all direct debits are monitored and protected by their own bank or building society under the Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme. The Guarantee scheme is offered by all banks and building societies that accept instructions to pay direct debits.

If an error is made in the payment of a Direct Debit, customers are entitled to a full and immediate refund of the amount paid from their bank or building society.