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England's wealthiest owe millions in unpaid council tax - Experian

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England's wealthiest owe millions in unpaid council tax - Experian

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Bill Payments, Housing

England's wealthiest owe millions in unpaid council tax - Experian England's wealthiest owe millions in unpaid council tax - Experian

Some of the most well-off sections of society owe millions of pounds in unpaid council tax, a report from Experian revealed today.

Experian has analysed £170 million of outstanding council tax debt owed to a broad range of local authorities across England. The analysis revealed that 17 percent (£28million) is owed by people regarded as affluent.

These non-payers are found mainly in the South East of England and include wealthy people living in the most sought after neighbourhoods, middle income families living in moderate suburban semis and successful professionals living in suburban or semi-rural homes.

When applied to all outstanding council tax in England last year (£600m), the research suggests that almost £100m is owed by the most affluent sections of society.

The research also found that 32 percent of council tax debt (£192m) is owed by people in low paid work, not claiming benefits and on the financial breadline.

These include young people renting flats in high density social housing and lower income families in urban terraces across the UK. The research also indicates that these people will struggle to pay back their council tax debt in the short or medium term.

The research also revealed that a significant number of young, well-educated city dwellers were among those least able to pay their council tax because, although over-qualified, many have taken low paid work out of financial necessity and budgets are stretched to the limit. The amount owed by these people is £124 million (20 percent of all outstanding council tax).

Simon Waller from Experian said: “We were very surprised to see so much council tax owed by people with the probable means to pay it back. The research suggests that more tax could be collected if local authorities took a different approach to non-payers according to their financial circumstances and ability to pay.

“For the most vulnerable groups, this means ensuring people are receiving the benefits or discounts they are entitled to and, where appropriate, offering more flexible, long term payment arrangements. For those that can pay, a different approach needs to be taken such as setting up direct debit arrangements and insisting, where necessary, on more prompt payment arrangements.”

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