Council owed more than £1 million in council tax
PUBLISHED: 14:32 05 January 2011
Tax-dodgers owe more than £1 million to a council, an investigation has revealed.
Councils across Kent struggled to collect the full amount of council tax owed to them in 2009/10, with Gravesham more than £2 million in arrears according to figures from December, which has now dropped to £1.3 million. Obtained through a Freedom of information Act request, figures show Gravesham is not alone and across Kent £21,073.314 is owed in council tax.
Mike Snelling, leader of Gravesham Borough Council, insisted the problem was under control.
He said: “As of the December 1 that figure was down to just over £1.3m which really demonstrates just how effective we are at the way in which we collect outstanding debts.
“It has no impact at all on the way we constructed our budget for the forthcoming year, no impact whatsoever on jobs or cuts, in fact, we’re not making any frontline cuts.
“In balance-sheet terms it’s a debt outstanding which we’ve got to collect like any other company and we will collect most of that debt.”
Gravesham Borough Council officers are responsible for collecting council tax from its residents both for its budget but also Kent County Council and the police and fire services.
Dartford Borough Council is owed just under £1 million in council tax arrears
General trade union GMB Union attacked the figures and called for greater efforts to be made to prevent tax avoidance.
Paul Maloney, of the GMB, said: “It should be included in the rent that the landlord is charging. That would resolve the problem. If a landlord is letting houses then they pay the council tax and recover it as part of their rent process from the tenants.”