London,
13
January
2014
|
13:41
Europe/London

Response to unpaid council tax claims

Several misleading stories were published over the weekend that claimed Hackney Council is not pursuing residents who have council tax arrears.

Hackney Council was not approached for a response to these inaccurate claims and a false statement that this is "pushing up" tax bills.

Council tax has been frozen in Hackney for eight consecutive years and every effort is made to recover unpaid bills.

Hackney collects more than 97 per cent of council tax, a similar level to other local councils and far higher than central government's collection rates.

However, the borough has a transient population with a high proportion of rented accommodation where people often move on without paying their council tax or giving a forwarding address. At any one time balance sheets may appear to show a large amount going unpaid, but the vast majority is eventually collected.

We do not write debts off without making every effort to collect the outstanding amounts, including issuing reminders, final notices and, in extreme cases, the use of bailiffs or bankruptcy. It can take some time before we collect the balance outstanding but we believe it is better to get the money in, albeit with a delay, than not collect it at all.

Ultimately, the eventual losses the Council suffers in council tax collection are relatively small compared to the £100m grant we have lost from Government since 2010.
Hackney Council spokesperson