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Millions of pounds of unpaid poll tax and council tax has been written off by councils in the north east of England...
Millions of pounds of unpaid poll tax and council tax has been written off by councils in the north east of England.

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.

Gateshead Council wrote off council tax debts of more than£80,000 last year and is owed a total of£1.8m.

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.

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