Local Government Finance: Greater Manchester

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 20th March 2014.

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Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Shadow Minister (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much and what proportion of (a) council tax and (b) business rates was uncollected by each of the metropolitan districts in the county of Greater Manchester in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Communities and Local Government

Information on collection rates of council tax and business rates for the financial years 2008-09 to 2012-13 for each local authority in England has been published on the DCLG website at the following locations:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/council-tax-statistics

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121108165934/http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/corporate/statistics/collectionrates200809

The figures show the amounts of tax collected within each year related to that year's liability, as a proportion of the net collectable debit for that year (for example, the proportion of the 2012-13 collectable debit actually collected during 2012-13). Collection of tax continues after the end of the year, so the eventual collection rates will be higher than those shown.

In our best practice document, “50 ways to save”, we listed improving council tax collection rates and reducing arrears as a key way of making sensible savings to help keep overall council tax bills down and protect frontline services. Every penny of council tax that is not collected means a higher council tax for the law-abiding citizen who does pay on time.

It is important that councils are sympathetic to those in genuine hardship, are proportionate in enforcement and do not overuse bailiffs. However, these figures show that there is a significant source of income for councils, which councils across the country could use to support frontline service or freeze council tax bills.

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