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Haringey writes off £18m in unpaid council tax

PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 April 2014 | UPDATED: 17:27 30 April 2014

Some of the uncollected council tax dated back to 1993. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Some of the uncollected council tax dated back to 1993. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

More than £18million in council tax payments dating back to 1993 have been written off by Haringey Council in the last four years, according to figures released this week.

The majority of the historic debt was scrapped in 2013 when £9.2million of the unpaid council tax was deemed uncollectable. In contrast, the 2009 figure was much lower, standing at £1.1million.

A Haringey Council spokesman explained that, in the last two years, the council conducted a review of old cases in a “considerable data cleansing” effort. The cleansed data included payments which dated back more than 20 years, where all efforts to trace unpaid debts had been exhausted and the resident no longer lived in the borough. This resulted in an increase in written-off debts.

But the council has come under fire by Haringey’s Liberal Democrat opposition.

Lib Dem leader Richard Wilson said: “It can’t be right that the Labour-run council has written off so much council tax debt in the last few years. Eighteen million pounds is a lot of money that could have been spent on services to benefit all local people.

“But Labour doesn’t seem to think collecting council tax is a priority, judging by the way they handled two councillors who received court summons for failing to pay their tax. On top of that, Labour have then failed to collect millions in council tax.”

However, Haringey Council’s spokesman has dismissed the accusation, saying: “We are determined to collect unpaid council tax and pursue those who avoid payment using all available means. We continue to meet collection targets and have reduced arrears by nearly £3million since 2012-13.”

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