East Northamptonshire Council owed more than £2m in council tax arrears

More than 5,000 accounts are in arrears.
More than 5,000 accounts are in arrears.

More than 5,700 East Northamptonshire households are in council tax arrears, owing the council a collective sum of £2.2m.

Accounts in arrears for the last financial year (2017/18) make up the largest percentage of the number, with 3202 households owing £1,2m. 550 of these have been put on payment plans and altogether the 1012 of the authority’s council tax payers are on payment plans.

The figures have been revealed in a report on outstanding debt to go before the council’s finance committee on Monday(Jul 8). This year the council upped the average household bill by £5 making the average amount for its share of the council tax bill £143.65.

The authority says: “In 2018/19 there were 40,670 dwellings in East Northamptonshire of these 3202 accounts were in arrears (7.9%); comparing this to previous years this is a usual figure and not higher than anticipated.”

More than £1m of the debt has been passed onto enforcement agents.

The authority is also owed business rates by 59 companies trading in the area. Altogether the combined debt runs to £628,991 with some back stretching back as far as 1999.

The report says that £312,000 of the debt is the amount outstanding for one that business that has been involved in national appeal with the valuation office agency.

The appeal has decided that the business in question can split into 1500 units and therefore small business rates will apply.

And £1.2m has been overpaid by the authority in housing benefit overpayment. 846 accounts are now on repayment plans.