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Wiltshire in the "Worst in the West" league for tax collection

July 24, 2010 2:21 PM

The GMB Union has published figures showing how much business rate and council tax goes uncollected. Cornwall tops the South West league, followed by Bristol and Plymouth with Wiltshire coming fourth with a total of £7,178,000 uncollected. (Council tax £4,852,000; business rates £2,326,000).

For all 37 councils in South West region uncollected council taxes amounted to £56,348,000 in 2009/10. In the same period uncollected non domestic rates in these councils were £31,703,000 to give the total uncollected amount for all councils in the region of £88,051,000. For the 326 councils in England the total uncollected amount was £1,065,939,397 in the same period. These figures are from a new analysis by GMB, public services union, of official figures for uncollected council taxes and uncollected non-domestic rates for the year 2009/10 published by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Richard Ascough, GMB Regional Secretary for the South West said, "Uncollected local taxes in 37 councils in the region amounted to over £88m in the last financial year. This level of uncollected local taxes can not be accepted at a time when there are deficits in the public finances which are giving rise to cuts in public services and job losses at a time of high unemployment. GMB has called for the rules to be revamped to make non payment of what amounts to a property tax almost impossible. For example landlords are not allowed to collect council tax from tenants when they pay rent. This means that short term tenants can evade paying council taxes until they have left the property and make it difficult for councils to track them down. Councillors, in past years, have dismissed this annual analysis by GMB and instead claimed to be doing very well. This is not good enough. Instead they should join GMB in asking Parliament to change the rules to make non payment virtually impossible. The poorest in our society and those on benefits have their local taxes paid by central government. So it is not a question of can't pay rather than won't pay