Back in 2007 just as the global economic crisis struck, the Scottish National Party, or SNP, who had just come into power in Scotland made the audacious decision to freeze council tax levels. At the time it was considered a dubious move given most countries suffering from the crisis had decided to increase their taxes to offset the financial issues, but now, seven years later we can see that the Scottish collection rates have improved vastly in recent years.
A little before the millennium, the Scottish government was collecting taxes at an average of roughly 87.2%. This meant that over 12% of taxes remained unpaid and the government was forced to send bailiffs to make their collections, which in the long run will cost the taxpayer more.
Now however, 14 years after, Scotland are seeing a provisional in-year collection rate of 95.2%. A vast improvement since the financial year of 1998-1999. Could it be because of the consistent tax rates during periods of inflation and economic downturn? Some financial experts seem to believe it might be the case. Consistent council tax means manageable and expected expenses. Manageable and expected expenses mean people don’t get behind in their payments.
One of the most obvious benefits of improved tax collection rates is that fewer people are being hounded for money by councils and their bailiffs. In Britain we have relatively good tax collection rates but with the cost of living increasing throughout the nation it is understandable that it can be harder for some people to make ends meet. Bedroom taxes, inflation, unexpected expenditure. These are the kinds of thing that lead to debt, and debt causes stress, which can often lead to more debt.
Things are getting better. The financial climate is starting to improve and the government is being pushed to find solutions to meet a universal living wage. On the horizon we can see improvements being made that will reduce personal debt catalysts. In the meantime if you are struggling to make ends meet, if you have had your finances stretched too far and you aren’t expecting to be able to pay your next bill, whether it is for the council or another debt, try calling us here at Council Tax Advisors and we will lead you away from council tax chaos.