Mark Drakeford, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government
Last year, I commissioned research into local authority practices in managing council tax debt and the recovery of arrears in Wales. The research forms part of the work being undertaken in support of our wider agenda to support the reform of local government and to help inform the delivery of our commitment in Taking Wales Forward to make council tax fairer for citizens.
This research is now complete, and is published today. The report helps to fill a gap in the evidence base about how local authorities currently approach the management of arrears, by exploring the system from their perspective.
The report pulls together existing evidence on the impact of council tax and of the collection of arrears on low-income households. In addition, interviews were undertaken with practitioners from all 22 local authorities to obtain a better understanding of their current approach to collecting and recovering council tax arrears in Wales.
I will consider the findings carefully before responding to the recommendations and, over the coming months, I will work closely with local government to explore opportunities to adopt more proactive and citizen focused approaches to help prevent debt occurring and escalating.
We know many of these households are struggling to cope with the effects of the UK Government’s welfare reforms and I remain committed to ensuring action is taken to mitigate the consequences for those affected.