'It's our fault - but claim a refund from your bank' says Milton Keynes Council after council tax blunder

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Direct debits were taken five days too early from people’s accounts

MK City Council has apologised for taking January’s council tax direct debits five days too early from the banks accounts of thousands of people today (Thursday).

They say the action was an “administrative error” caused in part by the forthcoming New Year’s Day bank holiday.

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But they have not offered to refund the cash – instead asking people to seek a refund from their own bank.

Mk Council officers have apologisedMk Council officers have apologised
Mk Council officers have apologised

The Citizen reported earlier today how thousands of people in MK have been left furious and broke after the blunder.

Now we can reveal it was not only council tax was that erroneously taken. The same mistake was made with direct debits for MK Council business rates and also housing benefit overpayments.

This afternoon a council spokesman told the Citizen: “ Milton Keynes City Council Direct Debits for Council Tax, Business Rates and Housing Benefit Overpayments due to be collected at the beginning of January 2023 have been taken from bank accounts on 29 December in error.”

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He added: “We apologise for this mistake and recognise that taking a payment early will cause distress and difficulties at this time of year.

“This was an administrative error on our part due to a mistake in how the payments should have been processed over a bank holiday.

“Your Direct Debit is covered by the Direct Debit Indemnity Scheme. This means you may be able to claim a refund from your bank. You will need to contact them for specific details.

“Some people may incur bank charges as a result of our error. If you have been impacted, please contact us via [email protected] or by calling 01908 253 794.”

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The spokesman concluded: “We understand that for some people there may be an issue between the money being taken out of your account and the need for that money immediately before you were due to pay your Council Tax. If you require financial advice or cost of living support, you can access local services and help here.”

Some people have already slammed the council’s reaction as “no good enough”.

One said: “It’s clearly the council’s mistake. Why should we have to go to all the time and trouble of contacting our own bank to get our money back. It doesn’t seem fair.”