Two east London councils have missed out on millions of pounds of income through uncollected council tax.

Waltham Forest Council and Redbridge Council have both failed to collect millions of pounds that could be spent on services.

Redbridge failed to collect £3,857,000 of owed funds and Waltham Forest failed to collect £5,038,000 in the financial year 2018-19.

That leaves Redbridge with a council tax collection rate of 97.26 per cent and Waltham Forest with a collection rate of 95.96 per cent.

According to the Daily Mail, councils across the UK collectively missed out on £892 million of income in the 2018-19 financial year.

The worst performing council nationally was Blackpool, which failed to collect £8 in every £100 owed, a 92 per cent collection rate.

At the other end of the scale, Berkshire, Wokingham and Chiltern in Buckinghamshire all hit 99 per cent collection rates.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Councils need to ensure that they’re receiving as much of the tax they’re owed as possible.

“There will be times when it’s uneconomical to pursue every penny, but they must exhaust every feasible avenue before writing off debt as it’s not fair on ordinary, law-abiding taxpayers for others to get away without paying their share. Those not paying put taxes up for everybody else.”

Cllr Kam Rai, deputy leader for Redridge Council, said: “In this data, our collection rates are above the national average, compare well with other London boroughs and increased on the previous year. But these are in-year figures which rely on different reporting methods and don’t tell the whole story. We would expect over time to collect 99 per cent as we pursue outstanding debt, which we manage through various methods including payment plans.

“Ten years of government cuts has seen our budget reduced by nearly 60 per cent and we will always work hard to collect from people who evade payment so that we can deliver the vital services our residents rely on.

“But we also appreciate the impact of austerity on local people who are struggling to get by and, despite the government no longer fully funding the council tax reduction scheme, we helped 15,000 low income families last year to pay their council tax. The council also operates a hardship fund for those vulnerable residents in need of financial support.”

A spokesperson for Waltham Forest Council said: “Council Tax supports the most vulnerable members of our society and funds the essential services residents rely on day in, day out. We robustly pursue those who evade payment and make every reasonable effort to locate people who abscond without paying their dues.

“The figure of 95.96 per cent is the in-year collection figure. We continue to collect residual unpaid Council Tax for each financial year until all avenues have been exhausted. Our budget targets anticipate a collection rate of 98 per cent, and we have achieved 99 per cent collection over five years for each financial year up to 2013 / 14.

“To help those at risk of falling into arrears we encourage early contact and can offer longer-term payment arrangements that may fall outside of the current financial year. We can also offer additional support to households experiencing financial hardship through our generous Council Tax hardship scheme.”