Warwick District: ‘We will respect tribunal’

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The leader of Warwick District Council, Andrew Mobbs, has expressed his disappointment at the decision of a Valuation Tribunal on the use of discretionary benefits.

Cllr Mobbs (Con, Kenilworth), was speaking in the wake of the hearing about Jenny Morgan, who he said was overpaid on council tax benefit to the tune of £13,000.

Mrs Morgan, who lives in Lapworth, secured the support of at least ten district councillors who believed her ten-year long legal row with the council should be dropped. But the matter has become a test case on Section 13A of the Local Government Finance Act.

Last week Professor Graham Zellick, President of the Valuation Tribunal for England, ruled that Mrs Morgan should be able to put her case to the council again.

But Cllr Mobbs said: “We have noted the decision of the tribunal that Mrs Morgan is entitled to make an application for discretionary relief in relation to outstanding council tax owed in the sum of £13,000.

“We are obviously disappointed by the decision as this sum relates to an overpayment of council tax benefit and Single Person Discount which was incorrectly claimed by Mrs Morgan and to which she was not entitled at the time she submitted her benefit applications.

“Notwithstanding this, we will respect the decision of the tribunal and will issue an application form. Once this has been completed and returned by Mrs Morgan the council will carefully consider the application and will decide whether discretionary relief should be granted having due regard to the merits of the case.”