BARNSLEY Council bosses have passed more than £3.4m worth of council tax arrears onto enforcement agencies so far this year but they’ve only managed to collect just over £500,000.

The monetary value of council tax arrears which bosses have asked enforcement agents or internal agents to collect since 2021 has risen year-on-year.

The Covid pandemic has had an impact on this but as the figure passed on rose, the amount collected has declined.

In 2021, the council asked agents to recover a total of £5.142m but only £1.5m was collected.

The year after an order worth £5.857m was issues, but just £1.36m was received.

So far this year the council has asked agents to recover a total of £3.4m but less than one sixth of the money has been recovered, making it the lowest year this decade.

The percentage of people paying their council tax on time has also decreased, with the cost-of-living crisis named as an attributing factor.

A total of 96.3 per cent of locals paid their council tax between April and June, short of the of the 96.5 per cent target.

A report states: “Whilst council tax collection is forecast to fall short of the stretch target by 0.22 per cent, the position is stable when you consider the target was increased by 0.5 per cent this year.

“Additional council tax support has been provided to those on low incomes for 2023/24, but their remains a risk to collections as the cost-of-living crisis continues to affect household budgets and their ability to pay council tax.”

Finance bosses have also sent out more than 40,000 council tax summons to court over the latest three-year period.

Subsequently, almost 30,000 liability orders were sent out over that time frame 11,963 in 2021, 11,163 in 2022 and 5,484 in 2023 so far.

Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton told the Chronicle: “We have a range of recovery options to collect council tax arrears, including using enforcement agents where appropriate.

“Cases are issued throughout the year, and it is an ongoing, repeated process.

“The volume of cases this financial year is consistent with those seen in previous years.

“We will always continue to pursue outstanding arrears to ensure the ongoing effective administration of public funds.”

Residents can find more information and support about local services helping households manage the cost-of-living increases on the council website.