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TOUGHER measures are being promised against council tax dodgers who cost Warwick District Council more than pounds 1million a year.

Officials are looking for more effective remedies to reduce the level of council tax and business rates which goes uncollected each year.

A total bill of more than pounds 65 million is levied on homes and business properties in the Warwick and Leamington area.

But in 1999 lost uncollected revenue amounted to 1.9 per cent of council tax and 2.1 per cent of business rates. It added up to a shortfall of about pounds 1.3 million.

In this financial year it's being projected that pounds 1.24million will not make it into the council coffers.

Council officials will review ways of collecting payments and getting people to pay up sooner.

Under new government guideline, billing authorities must show they are making year-on-year improvements, or private agencies could be brought in.

Christopher Lickorish, head of council tax and ratings, said the Warwick council's performance was better than the average.

He said the deficits were "of concern" to the unit but likened it to any business or retail operation building in room for losses.

He said: "Our budget is based on an estimate of what we will actually collect, so there is no question of services suffering because of the shortfall in taxes paid."

Roughly two-thirds of unpaid tax is collected by the end of the following financial year after warnings or legal action.
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Author:Cuthbertson, Hayley
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 29, 2000
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