Council Tax: North West

Department for Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 5th February 2015.

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Photo of Helen Jones Helen Jones Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what the total amount of uncollected council tax was in (a) Warrington and (b) the North West in each financial year since 2009-10.

Photo of Kris Hopkins Kris Hopkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Holding answer received on 11 December 2014

The amounts of council tax outstanding in Warrington at 31 March in each of the last five years are shown in the table below.

Total council tax arrears outstanding

As at 31 March

£000s

2010

9,518

2011

9,317

2012

9,817

2013

10,703

2014

11,860

Source: Quarterly Return of Council Taxes and Non-domestic rates (QRC4) form.

The figures are calculated by adding the amount of council tax that was uncollected within the year to the council tax arrears brought forward, less any receipts received in respect of previous years’ arrears, less any council tax written off as uncollectable.

The council tax collection rates for Warrington for the last 5 years are:

2009-10 97.3%

2010-11 97.5%

2011-12 97.6%

2012-13 97.4%

2013-14 97.2%

My Department does not produce regional statistics. The local government finance system does not operate on a regional basis, and the Government Office regions have been abolished.

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 could use to support frontline service or cut council tax bills.

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