Council tax payers in Leigh can now be among the first in the country to pay bills to a council over the Internet.

E-Government minister and Wigan MP Ian McCartney launched the council's new facility for sending payments at the click of a mouse.

Tax payers can pay a bill using their credit card and get a receipt -- in just a few seconds. And they can do it 24 hours a day, every day of the year, without ever having to queue. Council bosses who spearheaded the pioneering scheme, believed to be one of the first of its kind in the country, were praised by Mr McCartney this week. The cabinet minister charged with ensuring all councils sign up to the system said: "Wigan Council is at the cutting edge of service development, offering modern services which are quick and convenient for the citizen." Payers will be guided through the payment process in simple stages and will be able to click on a user-friendly guide. All bills paid to the council from rents to council tax can now be sent electronically directly to Wigan town hall computers.