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TAX COLLECTION STILL BEHIND IN SCOTLAND

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Scottish local authorities continue to lag behind their English counterparts when it comes to collecting council ta...
Scottish local authorities continue to lag behind their English counterparts when it comes to collecting council tax.

According to figures released by the Scottish Executive, councils in the country collected 93.3% of the£1.78bn owed between 2005-2006.

The corresponding data for England showed a collection rate of 96.7% while it was 96.6% in Wales.

A spokesman for the Scottish Executive blamed the gap on demographic factors.

'There are a range of factors such as differing collection methods, different demographic factors and different enforcement regimes around Scotland,' he said.

'We have commissioned an independent study into how we can bring everything together and close the gap on England and Wales, which is due over the summer.'

Jim Lakie at the performance and audit directorate at Audit Scotland claimed there were other factors at play.

'Unlike England, Scottish councils cannot use the threat of imprisonment as a consequence of non-payment,' he explained.

'We think that collection rates could be boosted by encouraging people who are entitled to council tax benefit to take it up; promoting the use of payment by direct debit; and also having more efficient IT systems in place so we can tighten the process of recovery action.'

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