Nearly £6.5 million in unpaid council tax has been written off by Bradford Council – a staggering £2.7million more than the previous year, an MP has uncovered.
A Freedom of Information request by Shipley MP Philip Davies revealed 81 per cent of the total sum is from the 18 council wards covering Bradford East, North and South, with 11 per cent in the six Keighley wards and eight per cent in the six Shipley wards of Baildon, Bingley, Bingley Rural, Wharfedale, Windhill and Wrose and Shipley itself.
Mr Davies said: “Councils are complaining of underfunding but yet they seem happy enough to let nearly £6.5 million be written off in unpaid council tax. It is outrageous and clearly not enough is being done to collect this money, which could be used to protect services the Council claim it cannot afford to run. These are not small sums of money in two years we are talking about more than £10 million.”
In 2017/18 £6,475,720.16 was written off by council staff compared with £3,736,202.51 the previous 12 months. Of the 2017/18 total £5,244,401.85 was owed in the 18 Bradford wards and a combined £1,231,318.31 in Shipley and Keighley.
Mr Davies added: “This is a further example of why Shipley and Keighley would be better off leaving Bradford and forming its own Council area. We could focus on our needs, ensure taxpayers’ money is well spent and we would no longer miss out to Bradford’s Labour heartlands. My constituents are paying what is owed but it is often them that miss out when the Council look at services to cut or close for example Bradford Council proposed closing the swimming pool in Bingley at the same time as they proposed building five brand new swimming pools in other parts of Bradford.”
Mr Davies recently launched his Leave Bradford Campaign and hopes to get enough support to take to Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire and push for a boundary review.
He added: “With the creation of a separate council the money raised in council tax will be spent in our local community by people who know the area and issues, rather than being delivered by more remote councillors in Bradford with little interest in our area. Crucially, all planning decisions would also be taken by local councillors rather than by councillors in Bradford, helping us to protect our precious greenbelt which Bradford Council has been concreting over for too long.”
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