Council Tax Debt. How does your area compare?

Using data obtained by a UK wide Freedom of Information request (FOI), and combining with data from the Insolvency Service & ONS, DebtBuffer has created a unique analysis of how people living in local authorities around England & Wales were coping with the UK’s no1 household related debt, Council Tax, before the COVID-19 crisis took hold.

Council Tax is one of the most punitive forms of debt to get into. The consequences of getting into arrears on your payments are harsh and they occur relatively quickly.

So far 113 Councils have resumed enforcement for Council Tax arrears after nearly all Councils across the UK suspended enforcement action due to COVID-19.

If you pay by monthly instalments and fall into arrears, you lose the right to pay your Council Tax by instalments. Your entire bill becomes immediately due. If you then fail to pay this within the timeframe required, your local authority will issue a Court Summons to begin the enforcement process. The earlier in the Council Tax year someone defaults, the larger the immediate debt due is. This compounds the impact of enforcement action and the stress suffered by people in financial difficulty.

243 Local Authorities from England & Wales have responded so far to our FOI request concerning Council Tax for the 2019/2020 Financial Year.

Key Data highlights:

  1. Up to 31% of households in England & Wales have been issued a Court Summons for unpaid Council Tax
  2. Councils across England & Wales issued over 2.23million Council Tax Court Summons.
  3. Over 1.092million Liability Orders were issued by the courts allowing Councils to appoint Bailiffs.
  4. Over £164.4million was collected by the use of Bailiffs.
  5. Over 113 Councils have already recommenced enforcement action for unpaid Council Tax

Click around the map to see unique data for each local authority that we have received a response from.