Liverpool City Council has hit back at claims that it is failing to collect council tax debts.
Recent media reports claimed that the authority had failed to collect £113m.
However, this is a debt which has accumulated over a number of years and has arisen because of the council’s policy of pursuing every penny owed to it.
Mayor Joe Anderson explained: “We believe that people should pay their way. That’s why we do not write off council tax debt. Other councils have chosen to write off debt. We believe that robs other council tax payers of vital public services which is why we will go to every length to get our money.
“And it is not fair on those people, who pay council tax if non-payers have their debts written off. Every penny we collect goes on services for people within the City, that is why it is right that we collect as much as we can. The Government have produced a league table that shows Liverpool at the top of money owed. The fact is that if we stopped collecting debt and write off debt after five years as others do then we would be well above the average in the collection of Council Tax.
“It is simply not the case that we are poor at collecting council tax. We collect 96% – in line with every other major city and better than many. No council can collect everything that is owed to it immediately but we use every means to bring money in, however long it is owed – last year we even collected £300,000 in unpaid poll tax.”
Last year the council collected £8.5m in council tax arrears.
Figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government showed that in the last five years £750m in council tax arrears had been written off by councils which adopted the approach of writing off debt owed.