Lambeth Council red-faced after accidental tax demand to Southwark charity

News Desk (02 June, 2016)

Volunteers at the East Dulwich Community Centre were puzzled when it received a demand for £2,486.71 from the council debt collectors

9746East Dulwich Community Centre

Lambeth Council have apologised to a Southwark charity after a demand for council tax was sent by debt collectors on their behalf despite it not being based in their borough.

The East Dulwich Community Centre received a demand for £2,486.71 on May 12 from Equita, a debt collection firm, prompting an intervention from East Dulwich councillor James Barber.

Councillor Barber wrote to Lambeth Council to ensure the error was corrected and for an explanation for how it happened.

Cllr Barber said: “I was incredulous at Lambeth Council calling in debt collectors to chase an East Dulwich charity for an address they clearly had nothing to do with. True incompetence.

“The last thing trustees need is this kind of street and hassle when they are working so diligently to provide a local service at the East Dulwich Community Centre for so many local groups.

“It felt daft that I had to step in as an East Dulwich councillor and directly approach Lambeth Council Chief Executive to get this finally sorted out.

“Lambeth Council at first couldn’t understand how they could have made this error.”

Lambeth Council have said the error was “administrative” and is possibly due to confusion between a “Dulwich Community Centre” in their borough.

Graham Kent, vice chair of the East Dulwich Community Centre Association, said: “Though as a small charity we are very relieved that this matter has been settled and are very grateful to our MP and councillors for their support and assistance, we do worry that a liability order could be obtained in these circumstances. I think this needs to be urgently investigated.”

A Lambeth Council spokesman said the debt has now been cancelled, an investigation was carried out and a letter of apology to the community centre was being written.




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