£3million council tax black hole revealed in Gloucester
TAXPAYERS have been left fuming after a £3.1million black hole has emerged because people have failed to pay their council tax.
The eye-watering figure is owed to Gloucester City Council's collectors.
Yet next year council bosses will have to cut much-needed services to fill a £2million funding gap.
Taxpayers on the streets of Gloucester are demanding tough action on those that don't pay up.
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David McKechnie, from Abbeydale, said: "How can these people get away with it?
"I pay my council tax every month by direct debit and don't complain.
"They should take it out of people's benefits before the money even reaches them."
One 78-year-old pensioner, from Kingsholm, who asked not to be named, said: "I pay my council tax because we all expect services in return. It's not fair if other people aren't making their contribution."
Terry O'Shaughnessy, from Coleford, said: "This is a lot of money. It's not rocket science to work out that it could cover the cuts they are going to have to make next year.
"They need to come down tough on people – if they won't pay they should be made to work for it instead."
Council bosses were left surprised when the figures were revealed to them after a Freedom of Information request was made by The Citizen. Now deputy leader Councillor Debbie Llewellyn, who is in charge of the city's finances, has vowed tough action.
She said: "In the present time people are going to be falling on hard times and there's a difference between those can't pay and those who won't.
"We have a new forum working with Citizens Advice and the Law Centre which is looking at how we can support people sooner before they run into trouble."
Council lawyers have already applied to take 4,212 people to court for non-payment of council tax since April. But a whopping £3,119,121.74 has not been paid since 1993.
The city council collects £49.9million each year and successful collections are at 96.6 per cent.