Michael Kelly (Write Back, December 7) expressed alarm at a nine month delay in assessing 10,000 owner-occupier rate relief applications, which 'have been piled up on the desks in the Land & Property Services Office'.
Since April 2007, Land & Property Services have indeed received 10,400 claims for housing benefit and rate relief. However, as of the date of this letter, we have completed some 7,600 of these, and we will complete the assessments of the remaining applications as quickly as possible.
Mr Kelly also refers to people receiving final notices while waiting for a decision on their application for rate relief. This gives me an opportunity to again stress that if you apply for rate relief it is extremely important that, if possible, you pay your rates while you are waiting for a decision. If your application is successful, we will refund any amount you have overpaid.
If anyone who has applied for housing benefit, or any other rate relief, is concerned about their application, they should contact our helpline; tel: 0845 300 6360, Minicom 0845 300 6361.
Alan Brontë Director of Rating Service, Land & Property Services