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Taxpayers owe millions to Highland Council


By Scott Maclennan


COUNCIL tax arrears across the Highlands currently stand at £42 million, despite the local authority’s successful 96 per cent collection rate.

Accumulated over a number of years, figures show that arrears grew by £2 million in just the last 12 months alone, at a time when council budgets are under increasing strain.

The local authority has committed to shaving £37 million from spending over the next three years, but if it was to successfully pull in all the council tax owed to it for this year – as well as the arrears outstanding – it would add around £143 million to its coffers, though the bill regularly fluctuates as numbers of residents and their circumstances alter across the year that bills are paid up.

A council spokeswoman said: “As council tax is a daily charge, council tax bills are adjusted throughout the year to reflect the changing circumstances of individual council tax payers while, at the same time, council tax payments are being made by customers in respect of sums due for previous years.

“Taken together, these factors explain the movements in the outstanding amounts of council tax due at each financial year end.”

Despite being permitted to do so by the Scottish Government this year, Highland Council declined to raise council tax bills beyond a previously set three pre cent increase threshold when it set its budget in February.

Two-thirds of savings agreed by councillors for this year have already been achieved through a combination of cuts and reorganisation.



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