No hiding place for council tax dodgers in Hyndburn

ROBUST measures to tackle residents dodging council tax were introduced yesterday.

Hyndburn Council has seen an increase in the number of non-payers, and said the issue was costing several million pounds.

A new policy has outlined a raft of measures to chase outstanding debt and to also target businesses failing to pay rates.

Three reminders will be sent, after which residents will lose the ability to pay monthly, and a court summons will follow if the letters are ignored. 

Deputy leader of the council, Coun Joan Smith, said: “It will now be obvious what will happen if people don’t pay. I appreciate some people are struggling but because of the government cutting our funding we have to be very robust in pursuing people for their debts.”

Coun Smith said the council was forced to act after changes to the benefits system meant people who previously received council tax support were now having to pay their ‘fair share’.

She said: “A lot of people did not have to pay because they were on council tax benefits, and the government would give us that money back.

“But now the government’s policy has changed, and they think everybody should pay their fair share. It’s a substantial amount of money.”

Coun Smith said the council could not afford to write off debt accrued by people not paying their tax bills, although help would be made available for those who contact the council struggling to pay.

The number of people hauled before the courts has increased over recent years, the council said. Coun Smith described Hyndburn as a ‘deprived’ borough and said people must not ‘bury their heads in the sand’ and ignore their debt problems.

She said: “When people are struggling, and they tell us about it, we will signpost them to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and others.

“We can sit down with them and sort out a payment plan, and may be able to offer weekly payments.

“I do appreciate this is difficult for a lot of people. This is something we are being made to do by the government. We would be talking about several million pounds if we did not pass it on to people.”

Comments (7)

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7:30pm Thu 5 Dec 13

AlifromIsrael says...

Have they never heard of making these people pay by direct debit from their bank account?

No bank account .......take them to court, why should honest people pay more because of these people?
Have they never heard of making these people pay by direct debit from their bank account? No bank account .......take them to court, why should honest people pay more because of these people? AlifromIsrael

11:52pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Graham Hartley says...

This matter is indeed one which gives difficulty to a lot of people. If there are enough people who dissent from such imposed difficulty then there may yet be an answer - a change of government. Rather a pity, isn't it, that such measures take so long to effect?
This matter is indeed one which gives difficulty to a lot of people. If there are enough people who dissent from such imposed difficulty then there may yet be an answer - a change of government. Rather a pity, isn't it, that such measures take so long to effect? Graham Hartley

10:39am Fri 6 Dec 13

s4awx123 says...

AlifromIsrael wrote:
Have they never heard of making these people pay by direct debit from their bank account?

No bank account .......take them to court, why should honest people pay more because of these people?
Who do you think pays for these peoples large flat screen TV's, latest mobile phones, laptops,sat tv,rent,water rates, etc, yes us honest people.
[quote][p][bold]AlifromIsrael[/bold] wrote: Have they never heard of making these people pay by direct debit from their bank account? No bank account .......take them to court, why should honest people pay more because of these people?[/p][/quote]Who do you think pays for these peoples large flat screen TV's, latest mobile phones, laptops,sat tv,rent,water rates, etc, yes us honest people. s4awx123

5:17pm Fri 6 Dec 13

lasjohnward says...

What a ridiculous comment to suggest that people who don't pay this tax on the poor are dishonest, wake up! Its also quite depressing that Councillor Smith appears comfortable in her role as an enforcer for this governments assault on working class people in one of the poorest boroughs in the country.
What a ridiculous comment to suggest that people who don't pay this tax on the poor are dishonest, wake up! Its also quite depressing that Councillor Smith appears comfortable in her role as an enforcer for this governments assault on working class people in one of the poorest boroughs in the country. lasjohnward

10:56pm Fri 6 Dec 13

workaholic says...

Would councillor Smith like to declare her salary to some of the less fortunate members of society who are struggling relentlessly through no fault of their own.
Could the other public employees at the council do likewise and perhaps disclose the cash assetts which the council now holds - (with other schemes like for example selective liensing for private landlords bringing in extra
revenue, and yet more revenue has been created by
abolishing a free period of several weeks when your
property becomes empty - this does not apply anymore !
(even in cases of bereavement) so where is all this extra
revenue going ? A large percentage is taken up in salaries by the very people who sit around their council offices devising new methods of extracting even more more money from us.
What a great borough we live in eh !
Would councillor Smith like to declare her salary to some of the less fortunate members of society who are struggling relentlessly through no fault of their own. Could the other public employees at the council do likewise and perhaps disclose the cash assetts which the council now holds - (with other schemes like for example selective liensing for private landlords bringing in extra revenue, and yet more revenue has been created by abolishing a free period of several weeks when your property becomes empty - this does not apply anymore ! (even in cases of bereavement) so where is all this extra revenue going ? A large percentage is taken up in salaries by the very people who sit around their council offices devising new methods of extracting even more more money from us. What a great borough we live in eh ! workaholic

7:48am Sat 7 Dec 13

lasjohnward says...

Just to put this into a more personal perspective, yes I exist on benefits I also have a flat screen TV, a mobile phone, a laptop and I pay ALL of my taxes. In fact I have paid those taxes for the 43 years of my working life so did my wife before she passed away last year, and the reason I have to claim benefits now ? Well also last year as a result of this governments (so called) cost improvement programme I was made redundant from the NHS after 25 years. So please don't believe the propaganda that is masquerading as the truth , benefit claimants are not all dishonest and I for one am not living the high life at someone else's expense, At 61 and now with serious health problems I live in a house that I can't afford to heat, I don't smoke or drink and every single penny counts including the portion of the council tax that I am now obliged to pay. Shame on Hyndburn Council for for assisting this government in this way and please think again anyone who believes the lies about people on benefits.
Just to put this into a more personal perspective, yes I exist on benefits I also have a flat screen TV, a mobile phone, a laptop and I pay ALL of my taxes. In fact I have paid those taxes for the 43 years of my working life so did my wife before she passed away last year, and the reason I have to claim benefits now ? Well also last year as a result of this governments (so called) cost improvement programme I was made redundant from the NHS after 25 years. So please don't believe the propaganda that is masquerading as the truth , benefit claimants are not all dishonest and I for one am not living the high life at someone else's expense, At 61 and now with serious health problems I live in a house that I can't afford to heat, I don't smoke or drink and every single penny counts including the portion of the council tax that I am now obliged to pay. Shame on Hyndburn Council for for assisting this government in this way and please think again anyone who believes the lies about people on benefits. lasjohnward

5:50pm Wed 18 Dec 13

Elegant1 says...

The problem for this out of touch government is that nothing touches them personally. Multi-millionaires who received a whacking tax cut of £25000pa bonus from this government for each £1m they have are sitting pretty. It also looks as if this may be doubled soon when the top rate of tax is altered to 40%. Mr Ca-moron is reputedly worth £30m x £50000 = £1.5m x5= £7.5m over a 5 year term! Who said money goes to money? What's the betting he dies leaving a total inheritance of around £300k.
The other problem is that councillors are being paid around £15k pa. Perhaps they should revert to the old system of carrying out the role for expenses only? Just while the economy picks up that is!
The problem for this out of touch government is that nothing touches them personally. Multi-millionaires who received a whacking tax cut of £25000pa bonus from this government for each £1m they have are sitting pretty. It also looks as if this may be doubled soon when the top rate of tax is altered to 40%. Mr Ca-moron is reputedly worth £30m x £50000 = £1.5m x5= £7.5m over a 5 year term! Who said money goes to money? What's the betting he dies leaving a total inheritance of around £300k. The other problem is that councillors are being paid around £15k pa. Perhaps they should revert to the old system of carrying out the role for expenses only? Just while the economy picks up that is! Elegant1

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