Council tax payments are being missed by 30% more Colchester households

Council tax payments are being missed by 30% more Colchester households

Council tax payments are being missed by 30% more Colchester households

First published in News

THE number of households in Colchester being pursued by bailiffs for not paying council tax has rocketed since the Government’s benefits reforms were introduced.

A Freedom of Information Act request shows Colchester Council instructed bailiffs 5,939 times in 2013/14.

The figure was up 30 per cent on the previous year’s figure of 4,515.

Colchester Council dealt with about 10,000 arrears cases per year, between 2008 and 2013, but it jumped to 13,277 cases in 2013/14.

The total taken to court was 5,524, up 33 per cent from 3,686.

Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell said it was too early to blame benefit changes, introduced in April last year, on the dramatic rise in cases.

Sir Bob said: “If people are finding it difficult to pay, it is cause for concern, but I amnot sure two plus two necessarily equals four.

“There will be those finding it difficult, but there are also those who are not paying for a variety of different reasons."

Paul Smith, Colchester councillor for business and resources, said new Government rules meant about 12,000 households previously not paying council tax would have to start paying.

He said: “We appreciated there was likely to be an increase in the number of people unable to pay and we took steps to try to help those people. We really want to try to separate those who can’t pay from those who won’t pay.

“If you choose not to pay, we will rigorously enforce the procedures and I make no apology for that. But if you have no money to pay, we interrupt proceedings early and say there is no point pursuing them.”

Total arrears for 2013/14 year were more than £2.5million.

Mr Smith said collection rates were actually better than originally budgeted for.

Council tax benefit was abolished on April 1 last year, with each local council being required to replace it with their own scheme.

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Comments (7)

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4:57pm Wed 13 Aug 14

AngryManNewTown says...

I'm fairly sure that 2+2 always equals 4. I'm no maths wizard but even my 3 year old knows this!!
I'm fairly sure that 2+2 always equals 4. I'm no maths wizard but even my 3 year old knows this!! AngryManNewTown
  • Score: 11

5:30pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Citizen 139 says...

Bob has no problem talking about council tax, but he's clearly got an issue talking about knife crime in Colchester. The silence is deafening Bob.
Bob has no problem talking about council tax, but he's clearly got an issue talking about knife crime in Colchester. The silence is deafening Bob. Citizen 139
  • Score: 48

5:48pm Wed 13 Aug 14

AVeryPrivateGentleman says...

Why speak out now ? What is the point ?
People were in debt before the change, they are still in debt after the change, admittedly even more so under the new circumstances.
Where was the Liberal whip and influence when they were sitting around the Cabinet Table with The Blue Bloods.
The fact is simple you tell Nick Clegg, when he sits around the table and say to Cameron, No ! if you do that we withdraw the support of the coalition how could they move forward ?
When I was renewing my membership the other week party HQ asked me, where do you think we are going wrong and one said, putting the Boss up against Farage two nights in a row, Big Mistake ! Was my reply, one of those nights should have been verbal fisticuffs with Cameron & Farage ?
The graceful old budgie has come on song with this trill of tune, but where has one been for the last 4 and half years please tell us ?
Everyone knows what's going on and this sacrilegious attempt at pumping your tyres up before the next big one in April, or as Mr. Martin Hunt has called it "The Dead Cert", is a classic enlightenment of how sickening we have become in the party here in Colchester. A top stalwart councillor retired after mayoral ship and resigned from the party then his co councillor and spouse resigned from the party and defected to the independents ? What a shambles of embarrassment for us all, where has our dignity and respect gone in the party ? Paul Smith very nice man but does not listen, even to the rank and file, does not appear to have a clear comprehension of the facts of the matter in hand, or what is being stated in the house of horrors !
We are becoming two face and imploding from within in the gluttony of our own success of past glories.
BTW Mr. Will Quince is not the answer either, dare I say it we may have been better off with Mr.Tim Young via a defection from the Labour Party (I must be going mad, did I really say that ?)
Once and Dr Who gets in next year, will he disappear into the Tardis of politics, that has and bears no reflection to the real plight and hardships of those who are suffering in the borough ?
Time will tell after another wasted 5 years to 2020, by then some of us could be dead ?
Why speak out now ? What is the point ? People were in debt before the change, they are still in debt after the change, admittedly even more so under the new circumstances. Where was the Liberal whip and influence when they were sitting around the Cabinet Table with The Blue Bloods. The fact is simple you tell Nick Clegg, when he sits around the table and say to Cameron, No ! if you do that we withdraw the support of the coalition how could they move forward ? When I was renewing my membership the other week party HQ asked me, where do you think we are going wrong and one said, putting the Boss up against Farage two nights in a row, Big Mistake ! Was my reply, one of those nights should have been verbal fisticuffs with Cameron & Farage ? The graceful old budgie has come on song with this trill of tune, but where has one been for the last 4 and half years please tell us ? Everyone knows what's going on and this sacrilegious attempt at pumping your tyres up before the next big one in April, or as Mr. Martin Hunt has called it "The Dead Cert", is a classic enlightenment of how sickening we have become in the party here in Colchester. A top stalwart councillor retired after mayoral ship and resigned from the party then his co councillor and spouse resigned from the party and defected to the independents ? What a shambles of embarrassment for us all, where has our dignity and respect gone in the party ? Paul Smith very nice man but does not listen, even to the rank and file, does not appear to have a clear comprehension of the facts of the matter in hand, or what is being stated in the house of horrors ! We are becoming two face and imploding from within in the gluttony of our own success of past glories. BTW Mr. Will Quince is not the answer either, dare I say it we may have been better off with Mr.Tim Young via a defection from the Labour Party (I must be going mad, did I really say that ?) Once and Dr Who gets in next year, will he disappear into the Tardis of politics, that has and bears no reflection to the real plight and hardships of those who are suffering in the borough ? Time will tell after another wasted 5 years to 2020, by then some of us could be dead ? AVeryPrivateGentleman
  • Score: -2

9:28pm Wed 13 Aug 14

angus_mcoat_up says...

It's long over due that these clueless politicians were dragged kicking & screaming into the real world, make them live, not for a week or a month but for at least a year on minimum wage which is the blight of the working people of this country & see how they manage to pay their bin collection to the council each month?
I don't know the figures but I bet the majority of the people who CAN'T pay are hard working citizens being screwed into the ground by ever increasing monthly bills & zero wage increases to make ends meet. What exactly are these politicians waiting for? The next revolution? Because I don't think it's too far off.
Speaking personally, I'm 51, I can't just go jumping from one job to another, our overtime has been slashed, I can't get benefits because last year when overtime was good I was marginally over the £13000 cap for wtc, I'm on my own & next month I'm expected to manage on about than £900 to last the next 5 weeks on, so, I've the choice, pay my bin tax or eat. I'm not alone in this situation but who gives a t0ss? certainly nobody who can put pressure on companies to pay a living wage.
It's long over due that these clueless politicians were dragged kicking & screaming into the real world, make them live, not for a week or a month but for at least a year on minimum wage which is the blight of the working people of this country & see how they manage to pay their bin collection to the council each month? I don't know the figures but I bet the majority of the people who CAN'T pay are hard working citizens being screwed into the ground by ever increasing monthly bills & zero wage increases to make ends meet. What exactly are these politicians waiting for? The next revolution? Because I don't think it's too far off. Speaking personally, I'm 51, I can't just go jumping from one job to another, our overtime has been slashed, I can't get benefits because last year when overtime was good I was marginally over the £13000 cap for wtc, I'm on my own & next month I'm expected to manage on about than £900 to last the next 5 weeks on, so, I've the choice, pay my bin tax or eat. I'm not alone in this situation but who gives a t0ss? certainly nobody who can put pressure on companies to pay a living wage. angus_mcoat_up
  • Score: 10

8:05am Thu 14 Aug 14

friday_woods says...

That figure will increase soon once the single mother housing project in Brook Street is filled... I bet most of the non payers are the work shy, feral and feckless who pollute the town centre daily instead of having jobs... Jus' sayin'
That figure will increase soon once the single mother housing project in Brook Street is filled... I bet most of the non payers are the work shy, feral and feckless who pollute the town centre daily instead of having jobs... Jus' sayin' friday_woods
  • Score: 3

8:06am Thu 14 Aug 14

stevedawson says...

Mr. Smith said the payment after cuts were better than expected, so thats some comfort.bob 2+2 will always equal 4.
Mr. Smith said the payment after cuts were better than expected, so thats some comfort.bob 2+2 will always equal 4. stevedawson
  • Score: 5

11:49am Thu 14 Aug 14

Arthur Fonzarelli says...

I would be very interested to know what percentage of those people mentioned have managed to find the money for either cigarettes, alcohol or scratch cards during these hard times.
I would be very interested to know what percentage of those people mentioned have managed to find the money for either cigarettes, alcohol or scratch cards during these hard times. Arthur Fonzarelli
  • Score: 4

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