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Council Tax: Debt Collection

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 3 June 2009, Official Report, column 584W, on council tax: debt collection, what the timetable is for the planned changes to the enforcement of council tax; and whether the plans will require (a) primary and (b) secondary legislation. (295895)

Although 97 per cent. of council tax was collected in 2008-09 there are still people who, despite being able to afford to pay their bills, do not do so. That is why, on 2 July last year my right hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (John Healey) announced that this Department was working with the Ministry of Justice to devise new ways of collecting and enforcing council tax, in particular by allowing local authorities to transfer debt cases from magistrates courts to county courts. If the Government decide to extend the enforcement regime in this way it would have to be done through primary legislation. Local authorities have a duty to their rate payers to ensure that every one of their hard earned pounds works as hard as they do.