Concerns voiced by Scottish Councils regarding new Poll Tax Debt Law
Leading providers of debt support, Trust Deed Scotland, have reported on the recent news regarding the new law to end poll tax debt collections. Councils are concerned that the plans to end the collection will encourage non-payment of outstanding council tax.
A debate is currently waging in Scotland between council bodies and Scottish government regarding historic poll tax debt. The widely unpopular and controversial poll tax was introduced in the 1990s by the Tory government and abolished in 1993, leaving around a £425m debt. This debt was still being collected up until Scottish government argued that after two decades it is now time to stop chasing poll tax arrears. The Community Charge Debt (Scotland) Bill has since been introduced to stop councils from pursuing the debt.
However, council bodies are voicing concerns that those who are struggling financially may believe they can ‘walk away’ from their council tax if they are free to walk away from their poll tax. This has led to some council’s to oppose the new legislation, while others remain supportive. Councillor Kennan made the following statement to Holyrood’s finance committee: “There is a lot of reason that people are struggling (financially), and I think with that in itself, people may be of the opinion that [council tax] may be one they can walk away from.
On the other hand, the committee also heard from Dundee and Glasgow city councils, who have both chosen to focus their attention on collecting the current council tax arrears, and “breaking the cycle of debt”, rather than pursuing the historic community charge debts. It was finalised that local council are to share a “final once-and-for-all settlement” of £869,000 based in the amount of poll tax debt which they estimate should have been recovered from the existing recovery arrangements. Some local authorities have already ceased debt recovery of the debts.
As experts in debt advice, Trust Deed Scotland takes a keen interest in debt related news. A spokesperson from the company made the following statement: “For those who are already struggling with their finances, it can be difficult enough keeping up with your current council tax, never mind concerning yourself over historic poll tax arrears.
“The new law to abolish poll tax debt will certainly be a welcome one for those who have a problem with debt. However, it is still imperative that those living in council tax arrears in Scotland should not walk away from what they owe. Dodging council tax payments can often come at a greater cost than simply paying what you owe. You will also be in danger of losing your home and possessions. If you are unsure about how to tackle council tax arrears in Scotland, you should contact a debt advisory service for support.”
Trust Deed Scotland Ltd is a leading debt advisory service for Scottish residents. They are 100% owned and operated in Scotland, with a 98% trustpilot rating owing to their free, qualified debt advice. They are able to advise on the suitability of Trust Deeds and a number of alternatives, including The Debt Arrangement Scheme, Debt consolidation and Sequestration.