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Before London councils cut services they should consider collecting some of the £500 million of unpaid council taxes

By Tim Montgomerie
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Tonight's London Evening Standard leads on the fact that £500 million of council tax has gone unpaid in London. £117 million wasn't paid last year.

Local government minister Grant Shapps condemned the incompetence:

"This confirms what we all knew about Labour councils wasting public money without a second thought. Not only are councils like Lambeth pursuing a strategy of cutting jobs before waste they are displaying breathtaking incompetence when it comes to financial management. All the millions could have been diverted to protecting frontline services."

Although it is largely a problem in Labour councils some Tory councils are also guilty. Tory-run Croydon is owed £35 million; second only to Labour-controlled Lambeth.

Collecting council tax in a city like London where the population is so mobile isn't easy but while Westminster is owed just £8.3 million since records were started, Lambeth is owed £51 million.


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