Publication - FOI/EIR release

Council Tax - various questions and statistics: FOI release

Published: 2 Mar 2020

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
2 Mar 2020
Council Tax - various questions and statistics: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000014348
Date received: 31 Jan 2020
Date responded: 27 Mar 2020
Information requested

You asked for the following information:

A. Number of properties eligible to pay Council Tax
B. Total Council Tax Billed
C. Number of Final Demand Letters Issued
D. Number of Summary Warrants for Council Tax granted
E. Number of Summary Warrants for Council Tax cancelled
F. Cost of Summary Warrants for Council Tax
G. Number of Sequestration Petitions for Council Tax
H. Number of Sequestration Awards for Council Tax
I. Number of DAS Applications where council was a creditor
J. Number of DAS Applications council voted against.

Response

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. The reasons why we do not have the information are explained below in this letter.

A. Number of properties eligible to pay Council Tax

Scottish Government's local government finance statistics team published the 2012 to 2019 statistics on the number of chargeable dwellings on the following website: https://www.gov.scot/publications/council-tax-datasets/.

For further information, you may wish to contact the local government finance statistics team at:

The Scottish Government
Local Government Finance Statistics Area 3-H North
Victoria Quay Edinburgh EH6 6QQ
E-mail:  lgfstats@gov.scot

B. Total Council Tax Billed

Scottish Government's local government finance statistics team published the 2008-09 to 2018-19 statistics on the amount of council tax billed on the following website: Collection Tax Collection - statistics.gov.scot

The 2007-08 data is available in one of the attached Excel spreadsheets.

For further information, you may wish to contact the local government finance statistics team at:

The Scottish Government
Local Government Finance Statistics Area 3-H North
Victoria Quay Edinburgh EH6 6QQ
E-mail:  lgfstats@gov.scot

C. Number of Final Demand Letters Issued

Accountant in Bankruptcy does not hold information on the number of final demand letters as it is not within Accountant in Bankruptcy's remit to collect this data. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that Accountant in Bankruptcy does not have the information you have requested.

D. Number of Summary Warrants for Council Tax granted

Accountant in Bankruptcy does not hold information on the number of granted summary warrants as it is not within Accountant in Bankruptcy's remit to grant or issue summary warrants, other forms of warrant procedure and execute diligence itself. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of

FOISA that Accountant in Bankruptcy does not have the information you have requested.

However, Accountant in Bankruptcy does compile and publish diligences executed based on information submitted by officers of court. Statistics on the number of diligences executed for summary warrants (council tax only) and other warrant procedures between 2016-17 and 2018-19 are shown in the following table:

Table D: Diligences executed by warrant procedure (all diligence processes): Scotland
Summary Warrant (council tax)(1)   214,825   207,211   239,537
Other Summary Warrant      7,809      8,341      6,314
Non-Summary Warrant    30,724    46,367    26,841
Total diligences executed   253,358   261,919   272,692

(1) From 01 February 2015, local authorities no longer have the ability to collect Community Charge debts. The 'Summary Warrant (council tax)' category will include diligences executed in respect of Community Charge debts before this date.

The source of these statistics is Scottish Diligence Statistics 2018-19 (information submitted by officers of court). For the slightly longer 2011-12 to 2018-19 time series data, please see the relevant attached Excel spreadsheet.

Further information and the associated data can be found in the Scottish Diligence Statistics 2018- 19 report - https://www.aib.gov.uk/scottish-diligence-statistics-2018-19.

E. Number of Summary Warrants for Council Tax cancelled

Accountant in Bankruptcy does not hold information on the number of cancelled summary warrants as it is not within Accountant in Bankruptcy's remit to collect this data. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that Accountant in Bankruptcy does not have the information you have requested.

F. Cost of Summary Warrants for Council Tax

Accountant in Bankruptcy does not hold information on the cost of summary warrants as it is not within Accountant in Bankruptcy's remit to collect this data. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that Accountant in Bankruptcy does not have the information you have requested.

G. Number of Sequestration Petitions for Council Tax

Accountant in Bankruptcy does not hold information on the type of debt included in creditor petitions as it is not within Accountant in Bankruptcy's remit to collect this data. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that Accountant in Bankruptcy does not have the information you have requested.

H. Number of Sequestration Awards for Council Tax

The number of awards of bankruptcy (debtor applications only) which contains Scottish council tax as part of the debt is shown in the following table.

Please note that the debt category is derived from the free-text data field and there is no pre- defined data category. Furthermore, this data field is influenced by human errors, including incorrect label and typographical error. Therefore, since the data collection and allocation is not consistent, caution is needed when interpreting figures here. Also, only the time-series 2015-16 and 2018-19 data is available.

The provisional 2019-20 data will be published on Wednesday 22 April 2020 as part of the Scottish Insolvency Statistics 2019-20 Q4 report. Hence, under section 27(1) of FOISA we do not have to provide information which is already planned to be released:

Table H: The number of awards of bankruptcy (debtor applications only) that contains
Council Tax as part of the debt: Scotland, financial year since 2015-16 (1,2,3)
   2015-16   2016-17   2017-18   2018-19 
Number of debtor applications  2,499 3,374 3,406 3,867
of which contains:        
Council tax (Scottish local authorities only) 1,395 1,851 1,806 2,046

(1) The total figures presented here many not be consistent with the official, quarterly Scottish Insolvency Statistics publication. These figures are based on data extracted from live database at a different point in time. The quarterly statistics are the definitive source.

(2) Type of debt category is derived from the free-text data field and there is no pre-defined data category. Therefore, since the data collection and allocation is not consistent, caution is needed when interpreting figures here. Further work is needed to improve the data collection and allocation.

(3) Excluding Low Income Low Asset cases.

The source of these statistics is Accountant in Bankruptcy's administrative data (BASYS). This table H can be found in the relevant attached Excel spreadsheet.

I. Number of DAS Applications where council was a creditor (J. Number of DAS Applications council voted against)

In the time period between 2007-08 and February 2020, there were 2,319 Debt Payment Programmes (DPPs) under Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) in which at least one Scottish local authority council was a creditor.

Please note that these figures are based on data extracted from the live DAS database at a different point in time. Furthermore, all DPPs under DAS approved in earlier years are mainly affected by missing information due to Accountant in Bankruptcy's data retention and destruction policy, for example all information for revoked cases must be removed from the DAS administrative system two years after the date of revocation, and all information for completed (closed) cases must be removed three years after the date of completion.

On the number of DPPs under DAS in which Scottish local authority council initially voted against, Accountant in Bankruptcy did not hold information on each individual creditor's vote in the recently decommissioned DAS administrative database DASH. However, on 01 July 2019, DASH was replaced by eDEN, its successor case management system. The eDEN system does hold information on each individual creditor's vote for DPPs under DAS approved since 01 July 2019.

Since 01 July 2019 there have been 529 DPPs approved in which at least one Scottish local authority council was a creditor. Of these 529 DPPs, there were 60 in which at least one Scottish local authority council voted against the proposal. In the same period, there were 38 DPPs under DAS that were not approved, and Scottish local authority councils voted against 11 of these 38 DPPs.

About FOI
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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG