Posted: Fri 21st Oct 2016

Council Secures Prosecutions For Persistent Non-Payment Of Council Tax

This article is old - Published: Friday, Oct 21st, 2016

Neath Port Talbot Council is clamping down on those who persistently don’t pay their Council Tax and has recently prosecuted two individuals for continual non-payment. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The payments fund a number of key local public services and while the Council is keen to engage with anyone experiencing genuine difficulties, a concerted effort is being made to take action against those who make no effort to pay. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A man from Resolven who had an outstanding arrest warrant for failing to pay his Council Tax has been told by a committal hearing at Swansea Magistrates Court that he faces 90 days in prison unless he pays his debt. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The man owed over £4,000 in unpaid Council Tax and when he failed to attend the court hearing an arrest warrant was issued. Neath Port Talbot Council contacted his employer to arrange for him to be arrested at his place of work but he decided to surrender himself to the court before the warrant was executed. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He was found guilty of culpable neglect and told he faced 90 days in jail if he failed to comply with the courts instruction of a payment of £40 per week to clear his arrears. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Magistrate presiding over the case reminded him of the severity of his situation and said: “If you fail to pay the £40 every week as instructed we will not hesitate to send you to prison to serve your remaining sentence”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In a separate case a woman from Seven Sisters was found guilty of culpable neglect and sentenced to 60 days in prison which was suspended pending payment of £200 per month towards her arrears. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Director of Finance and Corporate Services Hywel Jenkins said: “Whilst taking court action is a last resort, it does become a necessary step where individuals have the means to pay but no intention of doing so.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“People who persistently don’t pay their Council Tax are being subsidised by those that do, whilst still benefitting from the services that it helps to provide.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“As such, both to ensure fairness for residents who do diligently pay and also to recoup money which will fund local services, the Council will not shy away from taking legal action where necessary” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We remain keen to offer advice to anyone having genuine difficulty in meeting their payments, and would therefore urge people in this situation to contact us as soon as possible to discuss a payments plan.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Council Tax is an essential way of funding public services such as schools, social care, waste and recycling collection, roads, leisure facilities and the Police. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Neath Port Talbot Council has a good record for collecting Council Tax and is third out of the 22 Welsh local authorities for doing so, working hard in recent years to make it easier to pay. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

This has included simpler sign up to direct debits offering a choice of three payment dates in the month; developing a host of online services; taking payments over the phone; offering instalment plans and ensuring customers receive any discounts and exemptions that may apply. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Residents who are experiencing difficulty in managing their Council Tax payments can contact the Council Tax section on (01639) 686188. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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