Bailiffs have been knocking on doors in Leeds more than 50 TIMES A DAY as they try to claw back millions in unpaid council tax.
The YEP can reveal that Leeds City Council was forced to send bailiffs out 21,060 times to collect council tax debts over the last financial year.
Bailiffs have received 89,650 cases from the local authority in an effort to retrieve unpaid council taxes since 2009. Figures reveal that the city’s outstanding unpaid council tax bill is almost £19m - a sum that has accumulated over the last four years.
Council bosses say they have spent the last three years attempting to collect unpaid taxes dating back to 2009 and 2010.And there are fears that the city’s council tax arrears will rocket as changes to the welfare system start to bite.
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said: “We’re already seeing that welfare reform is leading to an increase in rent and council tax arrears for some people.
“We’re doing all we can to prevent people from falling into a trap of reducing income impacting on their ability to pay and escalating debts.”Figures obtained by the YEP through a Freedom of Information request reveal that residents still owe £2.2m in unpaid council tax to the authority dating back to the financial year of 2009 and 2010.
The council are also chasing just over £3m in unpaid council tax from 2010 to 2011.
Over the last financial year residents currently owe nearly £8.9m in unpaid taxes.
Bailiffs have received 21,060 cases to retrieve unpaid council taxes over the last financial year.
Debt collectors were given 23,701 cases of unpaid taxes between 2010 and 2011 - which is the highest number of cases referred to them over the last four years.
During that financial year three of those cases saw goods seized by bailiffs in a bid to retrieve outstanding money.
Council bosses say the city’s council tax arrears are reducing.
Councillor Wakefield told the YEP: “In fact, the amount of arrears is reducing year-on-year.
“We’ve been collecting council tax that we due to be paid in 2009/2010 arrears for over three years.
“We’ve had three months to collect council tax owed to us up until March 31 2013 so this figure will continue to fall.”
He added that the council have recently approved a range of innovative ideas aimed at preventing people from falling into poverty. WHAT DO YOU THINK? Click here to register and have your say on the stories and issues that matter to you