WIGAN Council is still owed nearly £500,000 from Community Charge defaulters -- eight years after the unpopular tax was abandoned.

Officers are chasing up £443,978 of cash unpaid from the controversial community charge, known as the poll tax, dating back to 1990.

And council tax defaulters owe the town hall nearly £11 million pounds from last year alone.

In a report published by the council's finance department, the figures for the year 2000 to 2001 show the council is owed £10,985,079.

But the council insists that it is vigorously pursuing those who have not paid their rightful dues to the council.

In the past 10 years, court costs run up in bringing non-tax payers to justice have come to nearly £7 million pounds.

The costs, say the council, are eventually paid for by the defaulters themselves on top of owed council tax.

A council spokesman said: "As a council we are above average when it comes to collecting local government tax. In 1999 to 2000 we claimed 96.1 percent of the council tax."

Wigan Metro is still owed £55,283 from poll tax defaulters from the year 1990/91.

Businesses who pay non-domestic rates owe £8,410,638 from last year.

There have been 685 court summons to businesses

A total of 5,001 defaulters have "absconded", owing £968, 910.

A total of 14,828 defaulters on income support are having council tax taken directly from benefits

The council sent out 8,340 court summons to non-payers last year and 29,275 formal reminders.