Q: I have lived at my address since 2005 and have voted in two general elections plus local election. I have a postal vote, as I am 86 and living in very sheltered housing.
So I was surprised to receive a letter from the Electoral Registration Office which read: “I understand you are now resident at the above address.”
I phoned and was told that City of Edinburgh Council had decided that each room occupied by a resident in sheltered housing would be termed a flat. When I phoned to say my “new” address was exactly the same as my old one I was corrected: No. Before, your address was Number 8 (street name). Now it is Flat 8 (street name).”
I rang City of Edinburgh Council’s department for street names and was told: “This is news to me. We have number 8 as one house.”
Most residents are in receipt of housing benefit and pension credit. So we will now apply for council tax credit.
Up till now most sheltered housing residents pay one sum each month – this includes a contribution towards council tax, rent, heating, lighting, water, food and cleaning.
Is this bureaucracy gone mad?
Or is it a council desperate for money?
Or desperate for fewer voters?
I think we should be told.
A: Edinburgh City Council looked into the matter and said that, despite what Mrs JH had been told, the decision to re- classify the property had been taken by the Joint Valuation Board.
Graeme Strachan, the depute acessor, sent this response and promised to work more closely to keep residents informed about the changes.
He said: “The property concerned was previously entered in the Valuation Roll upon which a liability for commercial rates would exist. Following a re-assessment of the physical sub division within the property and the level of services provided to residents, it was considered that in terms of council tax legislation individual council entries for each residence within the property was appropriate.
“This move from a single entry in the Valuation Roll to a number of entries in the council tax list has a consequential impact on the relevant electoral registration entries for the property and changes are also required to be made in this regard.
“As can be seen, this is a complex matter and I can appreciate that it has caused confusion and concern for the residents.
“In order to provide a full explanation I shall arrange with the housing association concerned for members of my staff to visit the residents and explain why these changes have taken place and what further action is available to them.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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