Peterborough residents owe £18m in council tax
More than £18 million is owed by residents in Peterborough in council tax.
In total, nearly 17,000 households are in arrears to the tune of just over £18.2 million.
The figures have been released following a Freedom of Information request to Peterborough City Council.
The authority said debt recovery action was delayed until August last year to assist residents struggling due to the Covid pandemic, with ‘pre-reminder’ letters followed up by formal reminder letters a month later.
It added that debt recovery was impacted by courts not being open during the pandemic and that Department of Work and Pension recovery processes were paused so that any debt being recovered by deductions from people’s benefits would not take place.
Moreover, discretionary awards were made to those on the lowest incomes to reduce the amount of council tax payable by £1.4 million thanks to central government funding.
Cllr Andy Coles, the recently appointed cabinet member for finance, said: “We know that some households in the city - and nationally - have been struggling economically this year. This is why we have been as flexible as possible in agreeing revised payment dates last year as well as making a number of discretionary awards to help reduce the cost for many of our most vulnerable residents.
“I would encourage anyone who is struggling to pay their council tax this year to contact our customer services team on 01733 452258 sooner rather than later. From here, we can then work together on how we can resolve their issues promptly and before any recovery action has to be taken.”
The Freedom of Information request also revealed that close to £400,000 is owed to the local authority for parking debt and £4.8 million is owed for business rates arrears.
On top of that, the amount of overdue housing benefits is £1.4 million, while for adult social care the arrears is £1.7 million.
Sundry debt (which covers other areas) is £16.4 million.
The council said it does not seek prison sentences for non-payment of debts.