Eight of the 10 councils with the biggest amassed Council Tax debts are Labour-run, today’s tabloids report as the latest figures have been released. No prizes for Croydon residents who guess the identity of the non-Labour local authority which is right down there among England’s most ineffective councils.
“Historical arrears are not a good performance indicator” is the excuse proffered by Croydon Council’s more delusional apologists, as the uncollected Council Tax mountain in the borough now amounts to £42.2 million, the fifth worse in the country and second worst in London.
That makes outer London Croydon worse in chasing up Council Tax arrears than inner city Hackney, Southwark and Lewisham.
Croydon’s figure of uncollected Council Tax is £6million worse than it was in 2011 – a rise of almost 17 per cent from last year’s £36.2million outstanding in the borough which proudly boasts “efficiency is in our DNA” (copyright Nathan Elvery, 2011).
In total, around £2 billion in Council Tax has not been collected by more than 30 English local authorities.
The Secretary of State Eric Pickles has accused Labour councils of spending too much time moaning about cuts and not focusing on Council Tax dodgers. Presumably, this criticism ought to apply to Croydon’s ineffectual Tory-run council, too?
Here’s the historical record on Croydon’s uncollected Council Tax:
- 2005-2006 (Labour controlled): £7.2 million.
- 2006-2007 (Conservative controlled): £7.1 million
- 2007-2008 (Conservative controlled): £6.2 million
- 2008-2009 (Conservative controlled): £6.8 million
- 2009-2010 (Conservative controlled): £6.9 million
Croydon’s collection rate for 2010-2011 managed to achieve the outer London average of 96.6 per cent, an improvement from the borough’s 95.6 per cent performance of the previous year.
Having checked the council’s website this morning, there was no explanation or press release on the subject, although the collection rate itself (not the arrears mountain) does get a mention (not an apologetic one) in this year’s council accounts which go to committee at the Town Hall tonight.
Imagine what Croydon could do with that missing £6 million from last year? More furniture for the Council’s new HQ? Extra trips to the South of France for the CEO? Bigger allowances for council leader Mike Fisher and his energetic team?
Maybe someone at tonight’s meeting will even suggest that “prospects are actually very bright” on Croydon’s Council Tax collection.
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- Croydon Council and the cuts: playing a numbers game (insidecroydon.com)
- Council to spend £1m to furnish its new headquarters (insidecroydon.com)
- £20 million: Croydon’s planned spend on consultants this year (insidecroydon.com)
- £2billion of council tax left uncollected by town halls who then moan about cuts by Whitehall (dailymail.co.uk)