East Devon has one of the highest council tax collection rates in the country
PUBLISHED: 11:30 20 February 2018
More than £4million in council tax has not been collected in East Devon in the last four years - but the district still has one of the highest collection rates in the country.
Since 2014, East Devon District Council (EDDC) has received payments of more than £346m from residents.
On average, between 2014 and 2017, this equates to more than £86m a year.
Since 2014, uncollected taxes – from people who fail to pay – have made up around 1.2 per cent of EDDC’s tax debt.
Last year, £927,351 was left uncollected. But compared to elsewhere in the country this is relatively low.
EDDC has the highest collection rate out of all the councils in the South West. And out of all 325 local authorities in the country, EDDC had the 18th highest collection rate.
A spokeswoman said that as of the end of January, the amount which had not been collected had fallen by more than 50 per cent, meaning the outstanding debt was only around £427,000.
And in 2016/17 the authority had a 99 per cent council tax collection rate, which meant EDDC had the lowest council tax arrears per dwelling of all the local authorities in the South West.
The money collected in council tax is split between Devon County Council, EDDC, town and parish councils, the police and the fire service.
In 2018/19, EDDC plans to spend £75.2m on providing services to almost 138,141 people in East Devon – £7.6m is from council tax, while the remainder is made up from government grants and housing rents, fees and charges.
Around £30m will be spent on housing benefit payments and £4.6m spent on collecting waste and recycling.
This leaves £36.5m for other services, which include council housing, cleaning streets, providing parks, play areas, leisure centres, administering local benefits and planning for the district’s future to ensure the district’s residents had the homes and job.
Councillor Cathy Gardner, who represents Sidmouth Town, said: “Efficient collection of taxes of all kinds – business rates, personal tax and council tax – is essential to fund the public services we all depend on.”