STAFFORD one-parent families are being urged to write to Stafford Borough Council after a charity said they were being charged too much for council tax.
Family charity Gingerbread has called on the authority to reduce council tax payments for single parent families.
The council said it was reviewing its scheme to see if any changes needed to be made next year.
The charity says the council is one of three in Staffordshire and 22 nationwide to include child maintenance payments in household income when they calculate how much council tax support people receive.
Child maintenance is what one parent pays another for the upkeep of a child if the couple split up.
In April the national council tax benefit scheme was abolished and replaced by council tax support. At the same time it came under local authority control giving councils discretion for how they calculate who receives relief from council tax.
Gingerbread says Stafford is singling out single parent families at a time when they have already been hit hard by government cuts to financial support.
They say unlike many other parts of the country single parent fami- lies in Stafford face losing the equivalent of a fifth of their child’s maintenance through higher council tax bills.
Gingerbread chief executive Fiona Weir said: “More than 300 councils have recognised the importance of child maintenance for single parent families by keeping it out of their council tax support calculations.
"We know that councils are reviewing their schemes for next year and urge councils in Staffordshire to take this chance to change their policy.”
The charity is encouraging local parents to write to the council to protect child maintenance and drop it from council tax support calculations.
A council spokesman said: “We consulted widely to set a scheme which protected the most vulnerable without being a disincentive for people to work.
"We also put a fund in place for those who experienced difficulties because of changes to the benefits scheme, whether they are single parents or families.
"The feedback we received was that most people agreed mainte- nance should be counted as income when calculating the level of council tax support a person should receive."