Councils fail to collect £2.7 billion of council tax

This is an ongoing cumulative total of council tax owed since 1993

Updated: 

Councils fail to collect £2.7 billion of council tax

Councils have failed to collect £2.7 billion of council tax, according to new figures from the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG).

This is an ongoing cumulative total of council tax owed, dating right back to when it was introduced in 1993 up until 31st March 2015.

During 2014/15 councils collected £570 million of outstanding council tax arrears, but wrote off around £191 million as "uncollectable".

Overall collection rates were 97% in 2014/15, the same as in 2013/14.

The worst performers

You can see the collection rates for each of the local authorities in England using table six on this section of the Gov.uk website to compare how your local council performs.

But we've picked out the 10 local authorities with the worst collection rates.

Local authority

Percentage of Council Tax collected 2014/15

Percentage of Council Tax collected 2013/14

Salford

91.6%

92.2%

Manchester

91.8%

91.7%

Blackpool

92.4%

93.1%

Nottingham

92.5%

93.2%

Oldham

93.1%

93.8%

Rochdale

93.5%

93.0%

Middlesbrough

93.6%

93.4%

Derby

93.6%

93.3%

Greenwich

93.6%

93.1%

Kingston upon Hull

93.6%

94.2%

Salford council had the worst collection rates compared to the rest of England with 8.4% of unpaid council tax, which is worth £7.8 million.

Neighbouring Manchester is no better, responsible for a shortfall of a whopping £12.3 million, while Blackpool accounts for £4.3 million.

Council Tax debts

Citizens Advice and the StepChange Debt Charity have both reported significant jumps in the number of people struggling with council tax debt this year. According to Citizens Advice, it is now the most common problem it sees – it reckons it will deal with 191,400 council tax debt issues this year, a 20% increase.

This could be to do with the changes to council tax benefit in 2013 (which saw it replaced with a localised council tax support), which meant that more than two million low-income families have had to pay an average of nearly £140 more Council Tax a year.

Council tax arrears are classed as a priority debt, so not paying can lead to significant problems. Your local authority can apply to take the money you owe from your benefits or wages, bailiffs can be sent to your home or you could even be sent to prison.

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