COUNCIL TAX WRITE-OFFS COST EVERY HOUSEHOLD £135

Southwark Labour's poor record collecting council tax has cost every household in the borough £135, according to new figures.

Labour-run Southwark Council has given up on over £12m in unpaid council tax in the past four years – an average of more than £3m per year. It puts Southwark amongst the worst-performing areas in London for council tax collection, ranking 20th out of the 32 boroughs in the capital.

With 88,830 council tax payers in the borough, it also means every household has paid out a total of £135 since 2010 to subsidise the non-payers.

The council already projects it will be forced to write-off £2.6m in non-payments for the current financial year ending on 31st March, and another £2.7m next year.

Now Liberal Democrat councillors in Southwark have called on the council to up its game on council tax, by increasing collection rates and ploughing the extra money back into cutting tax bills. Lib Dems have committed to cut council tax by at least 1% if they win control of the council in May – paid for by increasing collection rates by the same amount.

Southwark Council’s final collection rate of 96.5% has been stagnant since 2010, despite the collection service having been brought in house to be run directly by the council. Liberal Democrats said the council’s approach shows “no ambition” and want the council aim to increase the target collection rate by at least 1%. 

Top-performing London borough Kingston-upon-Thames currently collects as much as 99% of its total council tax bills.

Cllr Anood Al-Samerai, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group at Southwark Council, said:

“It is a shocking waste that £12m in council tax has been lost by this Labour administration, costing every household in the borough £135 they could be spending on other things. What’s even worse is that the council has no ambition to increase its collection rate towards the London average.”

“A Liberal Democrat council will get better value for money for residents by increasing collection rates. Every extra penny we make will be passed on to residents, starting with a 1% cut to council tax for every household.”

Council tax collection figures in detail

The portion of council tax that is not collected in Southwark each year is shown in the following table:

Council tax write off figures

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year

Final collection rate

Total council tax bill at 100% rate

Written off

2010/11

96.5

£87,947,581

£3,078,165

2011/12

96.5

£91,200,000

£3,192,000

2012/13*

96.5

£91,242,586

£3,193,491

2013/14*

96.5

£74,267,395

£2,599,359

Total

 

 

£12,063,015

 

 

 

 

2014/15**

96.5

£76,928,300

£2,692,491

 

 

 

 

*Based on projected final collection rate (as collection continues into following years)

**Based on assumed collection rate

 

 

The collection rate each London council expects to achieve in the 2014/15 financial year is shown in the following table:

 

Borough

Collection Rate

1

Kingston upon Thames

99.00%

2

Barnet

98.50%

= 3

Havering

98.25%

= 3

Redbridge

98.25%

5

Richmond upon Thames

98.20%

= 6

Bexley

98.00%

= 6

Hillingdon

98.00%

= 6

Hounslow

98.00%

9

Bromley

97.65%

10

Sutton

97.61%

= 11

Hammersmith and Fulham

97.50%

= 11

Harrow

97.50%

= 11

Kensington and Chelsea

97.50%

14

Merton

97.00%

15

Enfield

96.87%

16

Camden

96.80%

17

Croydon

96.70%

18

Ealing

96.68%

19

Wandsworth

96.60%

= 20

Southwark

96.50%

= 20

Waltham Forest

96.50%

22

Brent

96.25%

= 23

Tower Hamlets

96.00%

= 23

Westminster

96.00%

25

Barking and Dagenham

95.88%

26

Newham

95.60%

27

Lewisham

95.50%

28

Hackney

95.00%

29

Islington

94.50%

30

Lambeth

94.46%

31

Haringey

94.00%

32

Greenwich

93.50%

 

London average

96.70%