RESIDENTS in Redditch owe nearly £3.5 million in unpaid council tax, figures have revealed.
Data released by National Debtline show those living in the borough have failed to pay £3,475,000 in bills as of March 31 this year – an average of £97 per house.
The figure is also £741,000 higher than the previous year and is £800,000 more than neighbouring Bromsgrove.
More than 160 residents contacted the charity last year which says council tax is now the fastest growing type of debt.
Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline, said: “We are seeing more and more people seek help with council tax arrears – but the fact that Redditch residents owe £3.5 million makes us concerned that many more people in the area are struggling alone. Free debt advice services such as National Debtline are here to help.”
But a spokeswoman from Redditch Borough Council said the outstanding some was an accumulation of money which dates back over a number years, while the council collected 97 per cent of the tax for 2014/15.
She added that there was also a robust recovery process in place to help residents to reduce the debt.
“We fully support the Money Advice Trust’s message that people who are struggling to pay their Council Tax should seek help as soon as possible. As a council we work closely with the voluntary and charitable sector to help people to manage their council tax accounts and would urge anyone who is having difficulty in making payment to seek help as soon as possible, either directly from the Council or from voluntary money advice organisations.”
Call National Debtline for free on 0808 808 4000.