Laura Sharman 11 April 2019

Whitehall pledges to end aggressive council tax debt collection

The way local authorities recover unpaid council tax is to be reviewed by the Government in a bid to protect vulnerable residents from aggressive debt collection.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has pledged to make the council tax collection system ‘fairer and more efficient’ and end aggressive enforcement tactics.

Reforms could include improving the links between councils and the debt advice sector, and ensuring affordability assessments are central to council tax collection processes.

Local government minister, Rishi Sunak, said: ‘The experiences of some innovative councils show that council tax collection rates can be improved without resorting to the unfair treatment of vulnerable people.

‘That’s why I’m pushing forward work to make the council tax collection system fairer and more efficient – so people are treated with compassion while services get the funds they need.’

The Government highlighted work being done at St Albans District Council, which is referring vulnerable residents to debt advice services and only applying for Liability Orders after a year.

The council has still achieved higher than average collection rates at 98.9% in 2017 to 2018.

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