New Extended Way Of Paying Council Bills
24th January 2011
Highland householders are being advised by The Highland Council of new and extended ways of paying their Council Tax, rent and other Council bills. The new payment system takes effect from 1 April - the start of the new financial year.
From then, the public will be able to pay by cash or cheque at any Post Office and more than 300 PayPoints and Payzones throughout the Highlands.
From 1 April, the public will NOT be able to pay by cash or cheque at a Council Service Point, although they will continue to be able to pay by debit or credit card.
As a result of the new arrangements, the HQ cash office on Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, is closing permanently on 31 March.
Already 67,400 people pay their Council Tax by direct debit, so they will not be affected by the change.
The Council is following a number of other Councils throughout the United Kingdom in modernising the way it accepts payments from the public to ensure it does so in the most efficient and effective way.
Leaflets advising the public of the changes will be included in the 116,500 Council Tax demand notices which will arrive on doorsteps ahead of the implementation date. The change will also be prominently featured on the Council's web site and posters are being displayed in public offices.
Councillor Carolyn Wilson, Chairman of the Council's Resources Committee, said: "The change to the way we receive payments is aimed at providing a service that is more efficient but fair to everyone. The new extended service will give the public a greater choice of where to pay and more flexibility about when to make payments. It is also cheaper to collect payments at the new outlets and this keeps our administration costs down.
"There will be outlets right across the Highlands, making it more convenient for many customers to make payment locally. There will be longer opening hours at many of the new outlets.
"The additional Council business will help post offices that are important to so many communities and help sustain small businesses, such as local convenience stores and garages."
The public can also pay by Direct Debit - the easiest way to pay bills or by debit or credit card at any Service Point; online via the internet at www.highland.gov.uk.
Last week, The Highland Council issued rent suspension orders (RSO) in relation to a number of properties being operated as unlicensed houses in multiple occupation (HMO). The orders, which have been served on the owners and tenants, mean that the tenants are no longer under any obligation to pay rent to their landlord.
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The by-election for a councillor to represent the Tain and Easter Ross Ward on The Highland Council has been won by Alasdair Rhind (Independent) who was one of six candidates who contested the vacancy. The bi-election was brought about by the resignation of Jamie Stone following his success in the Westminster elections He joins Councillors Fiona Robertson (Independent) and Derek Louden (SNP) in representing Ward 7 on The Highland Council.
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