WITH reference to the report (News Guardian, January 5) about council tax arrears in North Tyneside, I’d like to reassure readers that appropriate action is always taken to ensure that residents do pay the correct amount of tax.
Front line staff have been trained to ensure that, where there is genuine difficulty, residents can be given advice and support to make suitable arrangements to pay, but where someone simply chooses not to pay, court proceedings are taken.
To do otherwise would be unfair to those residents – the vast majority – who pay regularly and promptly.
North Tyneside Council only writes off the debt if the resident has been declared bankrupt, or has died leaving insufficient assets to meet the debt.
Sometimes, comparisons with other local authorities can be difficult.
Whilst South Tyneside’s arrears figure is lower in cash terms, there are far fewer properties there, and also a higher proportion of residents receiving state-funded council tax benefit, paid direct to the council.
North Tyneside Council’s collection rate for council tax has risen steadily, and at over 99 per cent it is now the best of any council in Tyne and Wear.
The collection figures for business rates are also excellent, and in this regard, the council is now the best metropolitan authority in the country.
COUN JUDITH WALLACE
Cabinet Member for Finance
North Tyneside Council