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Warning on council tax debt

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Nearly a third of outstanding council tax debt is owed by people who will struggle to pay, new data has found. People in low paid work but not claiming benefits currently account for 32% of outstanding UK council tax debt with a value of £192m, according to data from information agency Experian. Experian said its research indicated these people will struggle to pay back their council tax debt in the short or medium term.

 

Meanwhile a further 17% (£28m) of outstanding council tax is owed by people in more affluent sections of society, the research revealed. The firm made the assertions based on analysis of £170m of council tax debt owed by 144,000 households in local authorities across rural and urban areas in England. Of the debt analysed, 17% was owed by social groups described as wealthy people living in the most sought after neighbourhoods, middle income families living in moderate suburban semis and successful professionals living in suburban or semi-rural homes.

 

Experian said that when applied its research to the total amount of current outstanding council tax debt (£600m), the results suggested almost £100m is owed by the most affluent sections of society. Simon Waller from Experian said: “We were very surprised to see so much council tax owed by people with the probable means to pay it back.

 

“The research suggests that more tax could be collected if local authorities took a different approach to non-payers according to their financial circumstances and ability to pay.”

 

Experian’s findings indicated a significant number of young, well-educated city dwellers were among those least able to pay their council tax because many have taken low paid work out of financial necessity. The amount owed by these people is £124m, or 20% of all outstanding council tax. Waller added:

 

“For the most vulnerable groups, this means ensuring people are receiving the benefits or discounts they are entitled to and, where appropriate, offering more flexible payment arrangements.

“For those that can pay, a different approach needs to be taken such as setting up direct debit arrangements and insisting, where necessary, on more prompt payment arrangements.”

 

Link: http://www.credittoday.co.uk/article/14666/online-news/warning-on-council-tax-debt


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