South Holland District Council offices.

Council writes–off £132,000 in unpaid debts

South Holland District Council has written-off debts of more than £132,000.

The total cost to the authority is £56,164 and the vast majority of the money was owned by businesses which had become insolvent.

“All methods of recovery are considered and pursued in line with legislative provision, before making the decision to write off,” said a report which went before cabinet members on Tuesday.

Around 74 per cent of the amount presented to be written-off came for business rates and of the 17 accounts in question, 15 are due to insolvency.

According to figures presented to the cabinet, more than £17,000 is owed in unpaid council tax while almost £5,000 is housing benefit over-payment.

“The need to write-off debt can arise for a number of reasons, including the debtor being untraceable, ceased trading with no assets, or deceased with insufficient funds in the estate,” said the report.

South Holland District Council is hit by 11 per cent of the total council tax debt, £1,974, but takes 100 per cent of £12,207 of “sundry” debt.

“Cabinet members can be assured that the debts listed are irrecoverable and that write-off is the correct course of action,” the report added.

“By the nature, volume of annual revenue to the council there will always be uncollectable amounts which will be recommended for write-off once avenues to recover are exhausted.”

The same meeting was told that the in-year collection rate for business rates is slightly behind target and £143,161 short of the collection target.

It is anticipated that the council will achieve the end of year target and that performance will be in line with previous year’s performance.

The report also revealed there had been a reduction in the number of complaints upheld.

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