Council Tax collection rates show further improvement

Council Tax and non-domestic rates collection have improved for the sixth
successive year, figures out from the Department for Communities
and Local Government show.

Local authorities in England collected 18bn in council taxes in 2005/06 – an extra 32m compared to the previous year.

The figures represent 96.8% of the 18.6bn collectable. This is an increase of 0.2 of a percentage point on 2004/05 and 0.7 of a percentage point over the past four years.

Local Government Minister Phil Woolas says: “I welcome today’s figures. They show once again that local authorities across the country have worked very hard to achieve even further improvements in council tax collection rates.”

“These improvements are vital so that councils can continue to provide good
quality public services for their communities – at the same time, unpaid
taxes create an unfair burden for the vast majority of people who do pay. We
will continue to work closely with our colleagues in local government so
that we see even better results in future years.”

Among the councils showing the best improvements in their performance is
Hackney, which achieved an increase of 3.1% on the previous year. Other councils showing notable improvements on the previous year include Gateshead (2.8 percentage points), Islington (2.6%), Kingston upon Hull (2.4% ) and Camden (2.3%).

The improvements across local government follow an earlier joint initiative
between Government and the LGA to help councils improve their collection
rates. ODPM funded, through the local government e-innovations programme, a data exchange service to keep track of council tax-payers who move between authorities and an interactive council tax collection best practice guide.

Today’s figures also show collection rates for non-domestic rates averaged 98.4% in 2005/06, an improvement of 0.1% compared to the previous year. Local authorities in England collected 16.3bn by March 2006 out of a total of 16.5bn collectable.