Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent council error summons 6,000 to court

Council tax bill
Image caption A council spokesperson claimed the error had been "good news" for residents clearing debt

About 6,000 Stoke-on-Trent residents have received letters summoning them to court for unpaid council tax.

But bungling council chiefs had to admit a "technical error" led to the letters being sent to people who were behind with payments but not yet facing legal action.

The postage cost incurred is estimated to have been about £3,000.

But the council said the mistake had benefitted the authority with some people clearing debts immediately.

Pete Bates, the council's assistant director of financial services, apologised for what had happened.

He said: "Summons issued on 7 May 2013 were affected by a technical error which means they are not valid.

"Despite the error, we've actually witnessed a beneficial impact in the sense that a lot of people who have been reminded of a debt have either paid in full or made a payment arrangement on the back of the correspondence, which is good news for the council and the individual because they have avoided costs."

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