New figures expose lax Labour councils letting tax evaders off the hook
New figures released to Parliament have today exposed the fact town halls have failed to collect a massive Â£2.4 billion in council tax across England – equivalent to Â£100 for every household in the country. New analysis has also showed that Labour councils have biggest arrears and the worst collection rates.
Law-abiding taxpayers lose out from Labour councils: In answer to a Parliamentary Question by Conservatives, Ministers have published detailed information on the Â£2.4 billion of council tax arrears across every local billing authority, equivalent to Â£102 per household. The worst council in the country, Liverpool has Â£114 million of uncollected council tax, or Â£528 per household. Nine out of the ten worst councils across England are Labour-controlled. By contrast, nine out of the ten best councils are Conservative, with South Cambridgeshire having arrears of just Â£11 per household.
Labour councils ignore tax evasion: Labour councils have an average of Â£143 of council tax arrears per household, compared to Â£61 in Conservative councils and Â£76 in Liberal Democrat councils. Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, has slammed Labour town halls for letting down law-abiding taxpayers, and "turning a blind eye to tax evasion". These figures also refute Labour councils' claims about "cuts" – collecting the lost tax is one of the ways that councils can make sensible savings to help pay off the Labour Government's deficit and still protect frontline services.
Labour councils charge higher council taxes: Councils are not compensated by central government for low collection rates: it literally means less money for the council to spend. This partly explains why Labour councils have higher council taxes – lower collection rates mean that overall council tax bills need to be larger to raise the same set amount of money. The independent House of Commons Library's latest analysis has confirmed that Conservative councils have the lowest council taxes on average Band D bills.
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said:
"Incompetent and rotten Labour boroughs are turning a blind eye to tax evasion. These new figures show how Labour councils are driving up council tax for law-abiding taxpayers by their neglect. There is real scope for sensible savings to help pay off the Labour Government's deficit and keep council tax down: every household in the country could get a cheque back for Â£100 if this tax evasion was tackled."
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