DEBT collectors were appointed to chase more than £61 million in council tax from Glasgow’s residents last year.

The money made up from both historic debt and £12.9m in unpaid tax from 2017/18, is being pursued by collection firms Scott & Co and Walker Love.

City bosses have confirmed that council tax collection rates are at their best-ever levels.

But leading charity, Shelter Scotland, claimed they were not surprised, as it was revealed that 74,099 debt cases have been passed to collection companies.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “These figures give a clear picture of tens of thousands of families and individuals across Glasgow struggling to meet their housing costs.

“The scale of arrears comes as no surprise to Shelter Scotland as we are contacted every day by people urgently needing advice.

“The impact of harsh welfare reforms, the roll-out of universal credit, stagnant wages and zero-hours contracts are making it much harder for many people in Scotland to meet their housing costs.

“It is crucial that the Council does all it can to help people meet their payments and not simply threaten with court action and debt collectors.”

Some of the debts stretch back years, with the collection specialists managing to recoup £16.4m last year.

In May this year, Calton Labour councillor Cecilia O’Lone apologised after racking up more than £17,500 of council tax arrears.

SNP councillors Elaine McSporran and Elspeth Kerr were also revealed to be on repayment plans, with both having owed in-excess of £12,000 when they were elected.

Mr Duncan added: “We advise people that they must try and pay their council tax but if they are struggling, get help as soon as possible.

“They should call the council and tell them they’re struggling and agree ways forward – maybe even access crisis grants.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council insisted the local authority would continue to chase unpaid debts.

He said: “Glasgow’s in-year collection rate has improved significantly over the last decade and is now the best it has ever been. Much of that is down to a great deal of effort that has been put into making it as easy as possible to pay, from an administrative perspective.

“Where people are struggling with arrears, our priority is to stabilise the situation and not add to their debt. By focusing on current payments before historic arrears, we can break a cycle of debt – and we would urge anyone with difficulty paying to work with us.

“There are, however, people who can afford to pay and choose not to. That is deeply unfair on households who do pay their fair share towards the public services we all rely on – and we will continue to pursue that money.”

Those struggling to pay debts can visit Shelter Scotland’s website for advice on