Roger Burton, Birmingham City Council's director of finance, said CIPFA and DoE returns indicated a fifth of all council taxes in London had not been collected in 1994- 95. This compared with 17% arrears in 1993-94.
Mr Burton said there had also been a slight increase in arrears in metropolitan districts. Birmingham had collected £3.4 million of council tax arrears last year - less than half the amount he had expected.
'We've still got a lot of tax payers paying off poll tax by arrangements and a significant number have yet to start paying council tax,' he said.
- The area cost adjustment given to London and south-east councils, which costs the rest of the country £234 million a year, should be slashed, Mr Burton said.
He claimed the value of the adjustment, designed to offset higher costs in the south-east, has increased by nearly two-and-half times since its introduction in 1989. Total standard spending assessments had increased 40% over the same period.
The ACA assumed providing care for an old person cost councils in the south-east 32% more than it did elsewhere, Mr Burton said. It also assumed educating a child or maintaining a road was 25% cheaper in cities outside London.
He said no-one believed the costs of these core council services were that much higher in London and the south- east.