Row of Victorian terrace houses in Liverpool, England
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BLOG | We are targeting Council Tax defaulters who won’t pay, not those who can’t pay
Liverpool City Council is on a mission to drive up collection of Council Tax. Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Resources and Transformation, Cllr Ruth Bennett, explains that this does not mean hitting those that can’t afford to pay...
Liverpool City Council receives income in three key ways: funding from Central Government, fees and charges and collection of Council Tax.
Cuts to the Council budget by central government since 2010 means that income from locally collected Council Tax is more important than ever.
Every pound that we don’t collect, is a pound less to spend on services which Liverpool people value.
It is true that the pandemic impacted the ability of many local authorities to enforce collection of Council Tax as courts were suspended, but the fact is our collection rate has simply not been good enough. In 2021-22 we only collected 83.9% of the money owed compared to a national average of 93.8%.
You may be shocked to know that some people who can afford to pay, haven’t done so for many years.
Now, as part of our improvement journey, we are targeting around 100 of our biggest debtors who collectively owe us £8 million.
They are a mix of individuals who owe Council Tax on properties they own, and landlords who are liable for Council Tax between tenancies.
In the last three months we have commenced legal proceedings, including petitioning for bankruptcy, for £6.8 million of Council Tax debt for this group, and it is starting to deliver results. People who have ignored letter after letter, year after year, are now actively seeking to settle their debt to the city – in some cases handing over tens of thousands of pounds. This is not just money for the Council’s coffers – it helps pay for the services we value such as social care support, street cleansing, libraries and many more.
Balanced against this tougher approach, we are acutely aware that the Cost of Living crisis means there are people who genuinely can’t afford to pay. They should be reassured that Liverpool City Council remains one of the most generous councils in the country when it comes to supporting vulnerable households. This includes working with Citizens Advice and the voluntary sector to help households claim Council Tax support, or other reductions in liability, or to provide longer periods of time to pay what is owed. All we ask is that you contact us if you are in difficulty.