Resort’s £2.4m unpaid tax bill

Blackpool Town Hall
Blackpool Town Hall
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AROUND £2.4m remains outstanding in uncollected council tax for Blackpool in the last financial year.

The latest figures for the financial year of 2010/11 show around 95 per cent of council tax has been collected.

Town hall finance chiefs aim for a target of 98.5 per cent which in previous years has been achieved, and is above the average for local authorities across the country.

However, the council says the shortfall will not impact on services.

A spokeswoman said budgets were based on the 98.5 per cent collection rate because it was never possible to collect 100 per cent of the amount due.

Deaths, bankruptcies and absconding mean some bills can never be paid in full.

Blackpool Liberal Democrat councillor Douglas Green said the town had a good record when it came to collecting council tax.

He said: “Considering the problems in the town, the council’s treasury department has a good record.

“This is especially so when you consider the amount of people living in private rented accommodation, which is where most of the debt tends to be.

“Under the old rates system, it was the landlord that paid, but the community charge is the responsibility of the residents.

“But that is not something, the council can change. It would have to be changed nationally.”

Figures just released by the Department for Communities show for 2010/11 more than £48m, out of possible receipts of nearly £51m had been collected – a collection rate of 94.4 per cent.

But since, then around another £500,000 has been collected. Council officers continue to chase council tax debt for a number of years and the figures for 2009/10 show collection rates of about 96.7 per cent.

Details for Fylde and Wyre councils show they are more successful.

The Department of Communities website shows Wyre’s rate for 2010/11 has already hit 98 per cent, while Fylde’s is at 97.9 per cent.

In April this year, it was revealed Blackpool Council has nearly £8.4m in outstanding payments from residents which have accumulated since the charge was introduced in 1993.