The amount of unpaid Council Tax in the Wealden district has reached £5,979,000 in 2014-15 – an increase of £224,000. This debt is equivalent to £89 for every household in the district.
This compared to £2,011,000 in the Lewes district or £46 per home and £3,023,000 or £63 in Tunbridge Wells.
Wealden, Lewes and Tunbridge Wells Councils collect Council Tax on behalf of their own and other local authorities (East Sussex County Council, Sussex Police, town/parish and East Sussex Fire Authority). The average collecting authority in England is owed £8.2 million.
Alex White, Head of Customer Services, Revenues and Benefits said:
The Council collected 98.3% of the Council Tax due in 2014-15. We aim to collect all outstanding debts where reasonable to do so. We operate a Council Tax Reduction Scheme to help householders on low incomes.
When people fall into arrears we work with them to find payment arrangements that are affordable and sustainable. If customers have difficulty budgeting or have other debts affecting their ability to pay council tax, we will help them to seek debt advice.
We work closely with local advice agencies to make sure advice provided is professional, free and available locally.
We would advise anybody worried about their council tax bill to contact us.
More than half the arrears owed to Wealden District Council date back to 2012-13 or earlier. Last year WDC wrote-off £160,000 in arrears the Council no longer considered recoverable, the Council also spent £334,000 on court and administrative costs.
Wealden DC is currently consulting on changes to the current Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which helps low income households of working age to pay their council tax.
Getting into difficulty with money
Information on paying your Council Taxcan be found on the Council website: www.wealden.gov.uk.
National Debtline offers free, independent and confidential advice 24 hours a day online at www.nationaldebtline.org and on 0808 808 4000, Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm, Saturday 9.30am to 1pm. Or phone Wealden Citizens Advice on 03444 111 444.