Melton Council writes off £52k in debts owed

Melton councillors have written more than £50,000 in debts owed because they feel the money is not recoverable.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 4:25 pm
Updated Friday, 11th June 2021, 4:42 pm
Latest Melton Borough Council news EMN-211106-162257001
Latest Melton Borough Council news EMN-211106-162257001

The payments relate to £19,000 in Council Tax £15,600 business rates, £13,500 in housing rent and a further £6,000 from various other debtors.

Untraceble debts of up to £2,500 can be authorised by a council official but when payments above this figure are owed they are referred to councillors.

And cabinets members voted at their latest meeting, on Wednesday, to write off £52,204 despite stringent efforts having been made to secure the payments due, such as issuing reminder letters, making special arrangements and setting up of attachment of earnings and benefits.

A report which went before the meeting stated: “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.

“All methods of recovery are considered and pursued in line with legislative provision, before making the decision to write off.

“This can include internal recovery action, use of debt collection agents, external tracing agents and procedures through the courts.

“All debt approved for write off will be set against existing bad debt provisions and can be resurrected in full or in part at any time should new information come to light suggesting that they might be recoverable after all.

“In all cases collection options have been exhausted and there is no realistic prospect of recovery.”

The council says the money written off is a comparatively low figure compared to the total sums it deals with each year and that it has a good record of collecting debt.

The Council Tax collection rate for the borough council in the financial year 2019/20 was 98 per cent and for business rates it was 99 per cent.

However the report added: “The Council are keen to take an increased grip on the current debt position.

“It is recognised this is an area that needs some improvement; we are looking to allocate additional resource in this area both through the Corporate Strategy and the budget proposals.”