More tax income, some still struggle to pay

More people in Lincoln are paying their council tax, but those unable to pay are raking up more debt, according to figures from the City of Lincoln Council.

Compared to 2008, 13% more Lincoln residents have paid their council tax over the past year, the figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show.

In 2010/2011, the council had £837,277 of unpaid council tax, while the sum in 2008/2009 was at £967,838, and £890,430 in 2009/2010.

Despite the decrease in unpaid council tax, the council had to recoup more money from residents using bailiffs over the past two years.

In 2008, the council asked bailiffs to recoup £398,632, while the figure almost doubled in 2010, up to £785,802, a 97% increase.

“Although the value of cases to bailiffs went up between 2009/10 and 2010/11, in terms of number of cases, around 200 fewer were sent in 2010/11,” explained Paul Taylor, Revenues Manager at the City Council.

“This shows that we had fewer people who owed debts on their council tax, but the people that did owe money had increased debts.

“This could be a sign of the times,” Taylor added.

“In these days of austerity, the people who can pay are perhaps cutting down on their spending elsewhere and prioritising important bills like council tax.

“However, at the other end of the scale, people who struggle to pay are finding they can pay even less, building up bigger debts.”

The City of Lincoln Council said there will be no council tax increase until 2012.