Today Citizens Advice released new research showing that missing a council tax payment of £167 can escalate to a debt of over £2,065 in just 9 weeks.
They said, “we’re now calling for changes to legislation on how local authorities aggressively collect council tax.“
Citizens Advice estimates over £560 million in fees were added to people’s council tax debt in 2016/17 alone. This includes £300 million of bailiff fees which is particularly concerning as some of these fees have to be paid by the person in debt before any council tax arrears can be recovered by the local authority.
While financial pressures on councils mean they are increasingly reliant on council tax to fund local public services, stretched household finances mean more people are struggling to keep on top of their essential bills, including council tax.
MHCLG data shows in 2018, there was over £3 billion of outstanding council tax debt (excluding fees). As shown by the chart below, an estimated 2.2 million households were behind with their council tax in 2017/18 out of 24.2 million that are liable to pay council tax. This is nearly 10% of all households.
Further analysis from the charity shows between 2010 and 2018, the amount of council tax debt grew by 30%. Council tax arrears have risen more than 6% in the last year alone.
Read the full report HERE.