Council chiefs have defended their decision to change the way council tax is paid.
North Tyneside Council has announced plans to alter the way residents pay their direct debits over the financial year.
People who pay on the first of the month had previously paid from May to February, but this year the money will be collected April to January.
However, some have hit out at the decision, saying it will affect their household budgets having to pay a month earlier and questioned if they are now paying 11 months instead of the normal ten.
But the council says the move is to bring billing in line with everyone else, and they will still get their ‘free’ months – last April and this March.
A council spokesperson said: “This change will only affect households who pay on the first of the month.
“Up until now, monthly direct debit payments for council tax started at a different time in the year for those who chose to pay their instalments on the first of the month.
“However, due to a change in the council’s billing process, it is now possible to bring these payers in line with all other direct debit payers.
“This means that all payments will now start at the beginning of the financial year.
“Monthly direct debit payments taken on the first of the month will now be collected from April 1 to January 1, rather than May 1 to February 1, meaning residents still have two non-payment months.
“We have written to all affected households to give them advance notice and asked those who may have difficulty making the April payment to contact us.”