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Council tax write-offs plunge in Worcester
THE amount of council tax and unpaid business rates written off in Worcester has plunged 93 per cent in a year, it has emerged.
A fresh city council attempt to encourage more people to pay their bills has resulted in one of the authority’s best ever year-on-year performances.
It also comes just two months after your Worcester News revealed how £1.6m of unpaid taxes were written off in three years - with the figure rising a shocking 85 per cent.
New data now shows how between April and June this year, just £7,000 was written off compared to £114,000 in the same period of 2012.
The turnaround came after finance chiefs decided on a whole new strategy following the previous figures - which includes sending out reminder letters and court summons earlier.
A temporary member of staff has also been drafted in to help review all outstanding debts and target the culprits quicker.
Councillor Richard Boorn, the cabinet member for finance, said: “This is something I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about for a long time.
“We’ve managed to get to grips with it at last and it’s something I’m very pleased about as the previous figures were not good.”
Back in June we reported how £550,000 of unpaid taxes were written off in 2012/13, compared to £297,000 in 2011/12, an 85 per cent hike.
In 2010/11, bosses decided to lump together a raft of historic unpaid bills and write off £760,000.
The figure of just £7,000 for April to June means that by the time the current financial year ends, in March 2014, the overall tally should be the lowest in several years.
There can be many reasons why people don’t pay bills, but in terms of businesses it tends to be because they’ve gone bust.
When it comes to council tax it can be down to money problems, people moving house or making themselves impossible to trace, or death.
The authority say write-offs are a last resort, and in all cases their details are kept on file permanently so if any new details come to light, each one can still be re-visited.
Back in January this year 3,000 people were slapped with court summons in Worcester for refusing to pay their council tax.
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