The Hackney Post has reported that whilst Hackney Council has cut this year’s budget by £44m, £32.8m in council tax remains uncollected. The £32.8m figure has amassed over the last five years.
7.6 per cent went uncollected last year from an estimated net collectible £68.3m, meaning £4.9m was left owing. The 92.8 per cent that was collected is lower than the national average collection of 97.1 per cent and shows no improvement on the borough’s collection total in the previous year, which was also 92.8 per cent.
The figures were released following a parliamentary request by Conservative MP Andrew Griffiths to discover the ten local authorities that collected the lowest proportion of council tax. Hackney is the third-worst Inner London Borough for uncollected council tax, and the seventh-worst in England. Hackney Council’s official response has been to refer to Hackney’s “transient” population and high proportion of rented accommodation. They have said that the council follows strict procedures when bills are outstanding, including issuing reminders, final notices and in extreme cases, use of bailiffs or bankruptcy.
But with no year-on-year improvement, and a shortfall nearly equal to the budget cuts that what will have a significant impact on the community, should Hackney Council be doing more?