The Journal reported (12 Jan, p5) that most councils budgeted for at least five per cent of non-payers and the amount of lost revenue involved is enormous.
Newcastle City Council says it is owed£2.4m by poll tax defaulters but this figure does not include the amount that has been written off - as much again.
£1.25m in poll tax arrears has been written off by Sunderland City Council and it is still owed£4.5m. There are also council tax arrears of£3.6m, of which£250,000 has been written off in the last four years.
South Tyneside Council, which has been very successful in collecting taxes is still owed£800,000 in unpaid poll tax and around£450,000 in unpaid council tax - only 1.5% of£23m which has actually been collected.
North Tyneside Council, which is owed£6m in poll tax arrears and£5m in council tax arrears, has written off£120,000 in poll tax debts but is still recovering debts in the region of£40,000 to£50,000 a month.
Castle Morpeth BC has poll tax arrears outstanding of£104,000 and has wirtten off£67,000. Council tax arrears amount to£299,000.