People in Milton Keynes owe a whopping £6million in unpaid council tax, it has been revealed this week.
The news comes after the council upped the tax by 3.95 per cent this year in a bid to prevent cuts to services.
This means the average householder pays just over £1,206 a year on a Band D home.
Last year’s council tax debt was £5.3m. The sudden rise has prompted a national charity to question whether hard-up city residents are getting the help they need to deal with debts.
They are urging people who can’t afford to pay their council tax to call the National Debtline, which offers a free advice run by the Money Advice Trust.
Joanne Elson, chief executive of the trust, said: “The level of unpaid council tax in MK remains a concern. With people now paying more than they were this time last year, there is a risk that residents who are already behind will find to difficult to resolve their financial difficulty.”
MK Council receives £120.9m a year in council tax which includes a levy from police and fire services. Thames Valley Police take 11p out of every pound and the fire authority takes 4p, parishes take the final five pence.
The Labour controlled council blamed government cuts for the need to increase the amount this year and said the collection rate was still 97.9 per cent despite the arrears.
Council leader Pete Marland: “We are is facing huge financial challenges over the next few years. They money we have to save is a mixture of increasing demand for services and a reduction of government funding.”
He said “robust” recovery action would be taken against people who did not pay.