§ Mr. Nigel Evans
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he has of the amount of unpaid poll tax; what measures he is taking to encourage local authorities to collect the outstanding payments; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Baldry
[holding answer 7 June 1993]: I estimate that the level of community charge arrears for local authorities in England at 31 March 1993 was £2.4 billion. Authorities have, however, made provision for non-collection of £1.6 billion.
We have provided authorities with a range of enforcement options. Once it has obtained a liability order from a court an authority may collect unpaid community charges by any of the following methods: an attachment of earnings order; distress; deductions from income support; charging orders (for collective community charges only); and bankruptcy and winding up. If, having attempted to levy distress, an authority is unable to find any or sufficient goods to distrain, it may seek to have the chargepayer committed to prison.