Pendle Council to write off £500,000 debts?

Cash notes 20s
Cash notes 20s
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Pendle Council’s Executive will be asked to agree to write off unpaid debts totalling more than half a million pounds when it meets on Thursday.

The debts being written off comprise £182,085 from unpaid council tax, £310,975 in unpaid business rates and £31,755 in overpayments of housing benefit.

The council makes allowances for what’s known as “bad debt” in its annual budget.

Coun. Linda Crossley, who leads on financial matters in Pendle, said: “It’s never a happy decision when we agree to writing off any debt to the council.

“We have robust procedures in place for collecting debts and only consider writing off debts after taking all possible steps to collect them and where it’s not economically viable to continue pursuing them.

“However if, in future, we get information that could lead to the recovery of previously written-off debt, we will try to recover it.

“In fact, since April 1st, 2013, we’ve identified people whose debts had been previously written off and are now seeking to recover around £36,400.”

Among the recommendations for write-off are 241 cases of unpaid council tax. Most of these people have disappeared without trace, despite the council’s continued efforts to find them.

In the current financial year, the council expects to collect £36.8m. in Council Tax. The recommended write-off amount of council tax is less than 0.5% of this.

Sixty two cases of unpaid business rates make up the £310,975 recommended for write-off. The majority of these – 51 – are the result of business insolvency.