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STRAGGLERS MAKE STRIDES TO BOOST TAX COLLECTION

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Council tax and business rate collection figures rose marginally in 2002/3 thanks to big improvements from some of ...
Council tax and business rate collection figures rose marginally in 2002/3 thanks to big improvements from some of the worst performing councils.

Figures published by the ODPM last week showed 96.4% of collectable tax was paid into council coffers last year, up 0.3% from 2001/2, representing a £40m gain.

Hackney LBC was still bottom of the pile, but it improved from 74% to 79.5%, while Lambeth LBC upped its collection rate from 86.5% to 90.1%.

The ODPM said the gain was the result of a joint initiative with the Local Government Association, launched in 2001, to boost collection among poorly performing councils. Overall collection rates rose by a similar percentage between 2000/1 and 2001/2.

Liberal Democrat ODPM spokesman Edward Davey said this year?s gains could lead to increased avoidance.

He added: ?As more people see council tax as a grossly unfair tax it is sure to become more difficult to collect.?

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