Disabled residents hit by £500,000 Arun council tax bill

Andrew Pickthall says he's been left scared and confused by the �192.92 charge
Andrew Pickthall says he's been left scared and confused by the �192.92 charge

Hundreds of disabled people living in the Arun district have just been hit with close to a £200 council tax bill.

Low income families are also among the 2,884 households who have now been asked to pay £192.93 a year.

The change will see many who have previously been exempt from paying any council tax have to fork out the £556,410 Arun District Council (ADC) will make from the new increase.

Andrew Pickthall from Bognor Regis is one of the thousands who received his council tax bill showing the new fee on March 9.

Andrew, 38, who has Down’s syndrome, said: “I’m worried by this bill. I don’t want to pay, I can’t afford to pay.

“I don’t understand what it means. My dad told me not to pay it.”

It is believed Arun District Council could be the only authority across the county to bring in the new charges, which is the equivalent to £3.70 a week and can be paid in instalments.

Andrew is one of many adults with learning disabilities who attends the Aldingbourne County Centre, part of the Aldingbourne Trust.

Sue Livett from the trust said: “People are receiving letters which are making them anxious.

“Their benefits are being capped, and not keeping up with inflation.

“Although £3.70 doesn’t sound a lot, people with disabilities are also required to pay towards their social care and if they are claiming benefits this is a significant sum out of what is a fixed income.”

The Observer has approached Arun District Council and is waiting for a response.

A letter sent out to those affected by the changes arrived just days before the disabled residents and low earning families were hit with their new council tax bill.

The ADC letter, dated February 24, said the changes had been approved by the council on January 11, only affect working age claimants and had been applied following a public consultation.

However Andrew and Sue said the first they knew of the changes was Arun’s letter.

Have you been hit by the new £192.93 charge? Sign in and comment below, comment on our Facebook page or email copydesk.sussex@jpress.co.uk

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