The UK's national deficit currently stands at around £12bn, making the recovery of monies owed to local and central government more important than ever. Although councils across England have reported improved collection rates since 2012, government figures indicate that as much as £2.4bn has been left uncollected in recent years.
What is being done?
Manchester City Council, Salford City Council, HMRC and the Cabinet Office have already participated in a pilot scheme that aimed to streamline council tax recovery. In order to build on the success of this project, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) recently proposed a consultation that will let local authorities suggest ways in which collection rates could be improved.
Barrie Minney, a senior enforcement manager at Brighton and Hove City Council, has already given his views on how more unpaid tax could be recovered. Mr. Minney suggests that landlords should be made liable for paying council tax on student properties, and would like to see liability orders registered as County Court Judgements. Although these ideas must be considered, we believe there's an easier way to collect unpaid sums.
Local authorities called on Enforcement Agents 2.1 million times during 2014, but there is still considerable scope for ethical companies like Dukes Bailiffs to boost council tax recovery rates.
While some sections of the press have criticised councils' use of Enforcement Agents, we at Dukes Bailiffs pride ourselves on delivering a genuinely ethical service that protects councils' reputations.
Our representatives work with debtors to build sustainable payment plans, and have a proven track record when it comes to efficient council tax recovery: our services helped Staffordshire Moorlands Council to achieve a collection rate of 99.17% in 2011.
Though the coming consultation will no doubt improve council tax recovery, local authorities may be able to boost their rates simply by switching to Dukes Bailiffs. If you work for a council that's struggling to keep budgets in check, contact one of our representatives to discuss sensitive debt collection today.