Council tax collection rate hits all-time high

COUNCIL tax collection rates are at their highest ever level.

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In 2013/14, the city council received almost 94% of the money due by householders that year.

The figure compares to a collection rate of only 86% in 2006/07.

Non-domestic rates collection is also at an all-time high, up half a percentage point to 96.5%.

In 2009/10, only 93.7% of business rates were collected during the year in which they were due.

Council bosses say the improvement in cash collected is down to investment in new systems, along with changes to payment dates and internal reforms.

They claim the increase is striking as it is generally more difficult to collect council tax when people are struggling financially.

When Glasgow City Council was formed in 1996, it started with a collection rate of just 73%.

City Treasurer Paul Rooney said: "This is excellent news for Glasgow's taxpayers and all of us who rely on important services.

"Everyone must pay their fair share, but our finance team has have focused on making it easier to pay and the results are clear.

"The more people are able to pay on time, the better we can plan and resource the services that are important to us all - such as education, the environment, jobs and targeted support for the most vulnerable people in our communities."

A drive to encourage people to pay their council tax by direct debit has also helped increase collection rates and around 5000 more accounts were paid that way last year than in 2012/13.

The council says the system is easy to use and helps households ensure they do not overlook a payment date.

Direct debits are paid by around 38% of city households accounting for 60% of all council tax cash collected.

The council is also working closely with the city's colleges and universities to process student exemptions more quickly.

For many years, Glasgow had the worst council tax collection rate in Scotland but is no longer at the bottom of the league table.

Officials say they continue to pursue historic debts, in some cases dating back years.

vivienne.nicoll @eveningtimes.co.uk

Local government

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