A MAN has told of his anger after receiving a letter threatening him with court action if he didn’t pay his dead brother’s council tax.

Steven Payne’s brother, Eric Payne, died of liver disease, aged 60, on January 27.

From last December, Mr Payne’s brother spent a month in Royal Blackburn Hospital, which meant he missed paying a month of council tax.

As executor of his brother’s will, Mr Payne, from Clayton-le-Moors, said he twice contacted Hyndburn Council to make them aware of the situation regarding January’s payment of his council tax. He also filled in the government’s Tell Us Once form which informs all government organisations of a situation.

But he received a letter from the council saying he would be taken to court unless he paid the £21.91 owed in council tax by February 10.

Mr Payne, 58, said: “On two occasions I telephoned Hyndburn Borough Council to make them aware of January’s payment of his council tax.

“I also filled in the Tell Us Once form which tells all government organisations of the situation.

“To my absolute disgust, I was met with a letter from the council addressed to the executors with a demand to be paid before February 10 the amount owing up to January 26, the princely sum of £21.91, or I would be taken to court as executor of his will.

Mr Payne said that he has since made the payment but that it has been refunded by the council.

He said he wanted to highlight the lack of compassion in the council’s system.

He added: “The council is using our hard-earned money to install systems which are run by people who do not know what they are doing. I understand that the demand is computer-generated.

“However I do think that once they have been notified of the death of a resident there should be a system in place that diverts these demands and deals with them with a degree of compassion allowing the executor to deal with the situation without the stress and upset that this has caused.

“I cannot believe this has not occurred previously and think the council executives need to bow their heads in shame,” said Mr Payne.

Council leader Cllr Miles Parkinson said: “My condolences to this gentleman on his sad loss, it was not our intention to add to his distress at this difficult time and we are extremely sorry that this correspondence did that.

“An officer from our customer contact centre has spoken to him to discuss the case and of course to apologise for his distress and inconvenience.”