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3 February 2012, 09:36 | Updated: 3 February 2012, 09:52
Unpaid taxes in Norfolk and Suffolk amount to over £20 million, with Norwich and Ipswich being the worst offenders.
The total bill of uncollected taxes across Norfolk and Suffolk adds up to a massive £20,304,000. This number was released today as part of a nationwide report from the Department for Communities and Local Government for the year 2010/11.
The whole Eastern region came 6th out of the 9 regions with Norwich and Ipswich being the worst offenders within Norfolk and Suffolk.
The bill for Norwich is £3,569,000, whilst Ipswich owes £2,619,000. Broadland needs to pay the smallest amount in Norfolk and Suffolk with a bill of £741,000.
A spokesperson from Norwich City Council says,
"We do take a hard line in pursuing people who do not pay and so while this figure shows an amount uncollected for 2010-11, what it does not show is that this will be pursued and 98 per cent of this is likely to be recovered.
The figures are also further evidence that the city, which has long struggled with deprivation levels, is not immune to the effects of the recession - something born out in the increase we have seen in benefit applications. More than ever, people are feeling the pinch and when taken in context, it will not come as a surprise to people to see the other areas where collection figures have been hit, and that these are also urban areas where deprivation is an issue."
Paul Hayes, Regional Secretary in the Eastern region for the GMB public services union says the government needs to do more,
"Urgent reforms to assist hard press council staff to collect these taxes are long overdue. It is high time that local and national politicians threw their weight behind GMB's campaign for changes in the law relating to the way these taxes are collected rather than dismissing the GMB figures as distortions or exaggerations as many of them will do."
As a country we owe £612,458,780 in unpaid taxes.