HC Deb 18 June 1991 vol 193 c142W
Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce provisions to reimburse charge payers forced to pay an additional community charge in 1990–91 as payment for other people's debts; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Key

As part of its budgetary process and in line with proper accounting practice every local authority has to estimate the level of non-recoverable charges for the forthcoming year and then set a community charge which takes this into account. This is in principle no different from the position under the old rating system. Authorities must, of course, make every effort to collect the community charge from those who have not paid using the wide-ranging enforcement powers at their disposal. There will be no amnesty for non-payers. Nor would it be appropriate for the national taxpayer to make good the shortfall in local authority income caused by charges that they have failed to collect.