We've given up on pounds 1.3m.Byline: By John Cook
Councils in the North last night admitted giving up the chase for more than a million pounds in unpaid tax.
It comes after statistics showed yesterday that up to pounds 35m in council tax from the past tax year is yet to be collected by local authorities across the North.
A survey by The Journal showed Newcastle Newcastle, city, Australia
Newcastle, city (1991 pop. 262,331), New South Wales, SE Australia, on the Pacific Ocean. It is the center of one of the country's largest coal-mining areas and is a large port. Coal, wool, iron and steel, and wheat are exported. Council had been forced to write off the largest amount of unpaid council tax, with pounds 220,000 discounted from 2003-4.
Carlisle Carlisle, city, England
Carlisle, city (1991 pop. 72,006) and district, Cumbria, NW England, near the junction of the Caldew, Eden, and Petteril rivers. The city of Carlisle is an important rail center. Council has written off more than pounds 190,000 and Darlington Borough Council has given up on more than pounds 165,000.
If the figures revealed by 18 North councils yesterday were replicated across the region efforts to collect more than pounds 1.3m would have been abandoned. A spokesman for Newcastle Council said that the majority of the written-off tax is accounted for by death, liquidations and bad debt.
But North-East landlords last night spoke out against calls by the GMB GMB (in Britain) General, Municipal and Boilermakers (Trade Union) union to give them more responsibility to ensure their tenants paid tax bills.
Fiona Bell, of Newcastle-based Bellwood Associates, said: "Collecting council tax is the job of the council, not landlords. Landlords have enough to do without the council passing the buck Buck
after murder of his master, leads wolf pack. [Am. Lit.: The Call of the Wild]
See : Dogs
clever and temerarious dog perseveres in the Klondike. [Am. Lit.: Call of the Wild]
See : Resourcefulness ."
Pat Robson, of Pat Robson and Co, from Jesmond, Newcastle, said: "We already do our part informing the authorities of our tenants' details."
But GMB regional organiser Julie Elliott said: "We don't want a change in the law to force landlords to collect the tax, just to give them the option to do so.
"The larger letting companies should find it easy and it would cut council tax loss significantly, and if that doesn't happen, either the paying public will have to pay more tax or services will get poorer."