PLANS to recover millions in unpaid council tax have been revealed.

Brighton and Hove City Council has announced plans to work with HM Revenue and Customs to tackle

those who are avoiding council tax.

More than £5.7 million went uncollected in the city in the year leading up to March.

Councillor Dan Yates, who is in charge of finance, said “austerity measures” meant the city council needed every pound it could get.

He said: “We can’t let those who can afford to pay, not pay.

“As a council, we’re experiencing the ongoing impact of austerity measures.

“The annual rise in council tax doesn’t cover the rising costs of services or match the demand.

“We’ll be looking closely at how this scheme works and the potential benefits for all residents.”

The council will begin sending letters this week to high earners who do not pay their council tax.

If they do not pay up, their debt could be deducted from their wages.

The money will be crucial as the city council anticipates it will face a £15 million budget gap next year.

According to a report to the policy, resources, and growth committee, increased costs and a lack of central Government funding is to blame for the gap.

Cllr Yates said councils were “desperate for information” about the future of their funding.

He said: “For 2020/21 there is a predicted budget gap of £15 million driven by increased costs and demands for services.

“This follows on from having to achieve £69 million savings across a wide range of services over the last four years to address previous funding gaps.

“The predicted budget gap is being made in the absence of any information about local government finances for 2020/21 due to the Government’s focus on EU withdrawal.”

Cllr Yates said the council was “working in the dark” as it did not know how much Government funding would be cut.

He said: “Although there is no confirmation, we are assuming that Government will not remove any further revenue support grant funding or the funding announced last year for adult and children’s social care.

“If these are removed, this will add a further £10 million to the council’s budget gap in 2020/21 requiring savings of £25 million to balance the budget.

“This makes it clear why local authorities are desperate for information.

“Until the Government releases detail of its planned funding, we are still very much working in the dark.”