Rent bill confusion

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THE chairman of Forfar Community Council predicted “massive problems” for Angus Council’s front line staff after what appeared to be a mix up in bills which were sent out to those who rent Angus Council garages.

Mrs Isobel Ross informed this month’s meeting that incorrect information had been sent out to those concerned, including herself. She had received a letter stating the new rent was to be £240.76 each year, which is broken down into 52 payments of £4.63 + VAT. However, her current rent is £5.18.

She said: “I enquired at the rent office and was told my new rent would by £5.56, which I do not object to. But what I am objecting to is wrong information being put out. I understand the rents for council housing have been equally wrong, which is going to cause considerable problems for the people in the rent office.”

She asked Angus Councillor Colin Brown to look into the matter and to find out how it had happened.

She warned: “I think it will cause great problems. I can see massive problems for front line staff in the rent office. I don’t think it’s fair.”

However, Angus Council clarified the situation. A spokesperson said: “Council house tenants and people renting garages were issued with accounts giving their new weekly charge and adding ‘+ VAT’, which is currently set nationally at 20%. A person renting a garage, for example, might pay £4.63 plus 93 pence VAT, making the current final charge £5.56.

“VAT is chargeable at point of payment and may vary according to government budgetary constraints. Where a card lasts for a year, it is preferable just to warn tenants that VAT is applicable.

“Any individual wishing clarification can contact ACCESS by phone, person or on-line for up to date advice.”

Mrs Ross also passed on a complaint received about the new mobile library bus service stating “it has everything on it except the name ‘library bus’.”

She added there had been complaints that people felt they were not getting enough time to spend on the bus, especially if they were wanting to use the computer facilities.

Commenting on the library bus a spokesperson for Angus Council said: “The new Angus mobile rural service, launched in January, delivers not only library books but also provides information to people in rural Angus.

“One of the new vehicles also has a consultation area where members of the public can talk, by prior arrangement, to a council officer about specific issues, so the service is more than just a mobile library.

“Regular users of the library service were contacted earlier this year by the council regarding the new routes and timetables of the new service, and these details are also available online.

“However, in the light of comments from some service users, and for the avoidance of doubt for new users, we plan to include, at minimal cost to the council, additional signage on the vehicles to say ‘libraries, access and much more…’.

“Staff are able to use the internet on the vehicles at certain points on the route, where they can search library catalogues on line, access other council information or log messages with the ACCESS office on behalf of those using the mobile service.

“If any users of the service have issues with the length of time the vehicle stops at any given location, they should contact the library service using the council’s ACCESSLine on 08452 777 778 to make their views known.”