Almost £100 million in council tax bills went unpaid across Scotland last year at a time of massive cuts to local budgets, official figures today showed.
But in total, 95.4% of bills were settled, meaning the “in-year” collection rate is up slightly on the previous year.
And more than half a million Scots benefited from the council tax reduction scheme - with a total of £345.9 million awarded in 2014/15. But the 525,640 Scots who received this benefit was down 4.8% on previous years, official figures have shown.
Pensioners, families, lone parents and disabled people who are struggling to pay their bills are among those who receive the reduction of £12.74 each week.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the fall shows “steady decline” in the need for support following the economic recovery.
But he added: “Anyone who is having difficulty in meeting their Council Tax liability and believes they may be eligible for support should contact their local authority, who will be able to offer advice on how to apply for the Council Tax Reduction scheme.”
A total of £2.076 billion was billed in Council Tax for Scotland in 2014-15 - but £95 million of this was not collected. This in-year council tax collection rate for Scotland 2014-15 was 95.4 per cent - continuing a steady improvement since 1998-99.
This equates to a provisional in-year Council Tax collection rate of 95.4 per cent. The collection rate for all Council Tax billing years between 1993-94 and 2014-15 now stands at 96.6 per cent.