Over the next few weeks Cornwall Council will be working with CAPITA to carry out a review of all council tax payers who are receiving a 25 per cent single person discount on their council tax bills.

The latest information shows that around 78,000 households in Cornwall are currently claiming single person discount at a total cost of £23.5m a year.

The Council has appointed CAPITA to undertake the review and they will be using data from Equifax (a credit reference agency) with up-to-the minute data matching technology, to identify where people may be inappropriately claiming the single person discount.

A council spokesman said: "The council wants to ensure that people who are entitled to the discount are claiming their discount but is equally determined to take action to identify those people who claim the discount for which they are not entitled to prevent abuse of the system.

"If you are entitled to the discount there is no need to worry. This check is an essential part of Cornwall Council’s ‘zero tolerance’ approach towards fraud.

Fiona Ferguson, the council’s portfolio holder for corporate resources, is supporting the review.

Fiona said: “Apart from the need to protect the public purse from fraud, this is a simple matter of fairness. It is especially important when people in Cornwall who are paying the correct council tax are struggling as a result of the current economic climate.”