Forty per cent rise in warrants issued for failure to pay council tax ‘entirely foreseeable’

Alan McIntosh

The number of people in Scotland handed warrants for failing to pay council tax has risen by almost 40 per cent in the last five years, according to new figures obtained by Scottish Labour.

A summary warrant is issued by sheriff officers at the point that a person has failed to respond to the council’s final notice, and includes a 10 per cent penalty on the original debt.

Alan McIntosh, a senior money adviser, told Scottish Legal News that the increase was “entirely foreseeable”.

He added: “Over the last three years we have seen local authority funded, money advice services cut by 45 per cent.

“This is just not sustainable when people’s incomes are stagnating, the cost of living is increasing and local authorities are being forced to increase council tax bills to maintain vital services.

“We cannot be surprised people will struggle to pay essential household bills.”

“The fact the current council tax system is not working is further evidenced by the fact there was 303,789 bank arrestment attempts last year for council tax, up 12 per cent on the previous year,” Mr McIntosh said.

“The Scottish government’s Tackling Problem Debt Working Group, which has been set up to look at how FCA debt advice funding should be spent, when it is devolved in October, has to not only ensure that funding is spent on local face to face money advice services, but also has to ensure other sustainable means of funding free money advice services are found.”