Brent Council is owed �23million in tax arrears

Town hall bosses slammed for allowing debt to accumulate

Brent Council is owed more than �23 million in outstanding council tax arrears dating back to 1993, with over 7,000 households owing more than �1,500 each, the Times can reveal.

The figures have infuriated Cllr Reg Colwill, who claims town hall bosses are making excuses and short changing residents by allowing the arrears to escalate.

The Tory councillor for Kenton said: “You hear it every week from this council blaming the government for this cut or for that cut, but if they had stayed on top of this a lot of the front line services that people rely on could have been saved.

“What is more galling is that people who pay their council tax regularly but are a week or so behind get threatening letters yet some can get thousands indebt and the council do nothing.”

He added: “That money is desperately needed by some of my constituents

The most council tax owed by one household is �21,000; the equivalent of one axed parking warden in Brent River Park, Tokyngton.

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Cllr Muhammed Butt, Lead Member for Resources, said: “Anyone that says we could have saved service must know that is a fallacy.

“We do not let people get away with not paying their council tax but we have to give them a chance to pay.

“If we made everyone bankrupt who didn’t pay their council tax then we would never recover any of the money.

“But let’s say we did collect it all, even though no borough in London has ever managed to do that, we would still have to make some harsh decision given cuts in government funding has cut us to the bone.”