WARRINGTON council is writing-off around £204,000 in unpaid debts made up from housing benefit overpayments, council tax, business rates and other debts.
The council’s audit and corporate governance committee has noted the decision for the debt, which has become ‘unrecoverable’, to be written-off.
This includes £577.25 Council Tax, £55,637.46 Housing Benefit Overpayments and £148,156.50 miscellaneous debts, a large proportion of which is debt which is over three years old.
Overall council tax and business rate collection remains high in Warrington. Annually, the council collects around £200m in Council Tax and Business Rates, and also collects £73m in miscellaneous income and £1.5m in housing benefit overpayments.
However, there are circumstances where the council is unable to pursue an outstanding debt any further, such as when the person owing the debt has died, has left the borough without trace or where a debt relief order has been granted.
Where such circumstances occur and all avenues of recovery have been exhausted, the debts are referred to the director of corporate services, with a recommendation of writing off the debt.
Writing off unrecoverable debts is used as a last option by the council when all other methods of collection have been exhausted.
Warrington Borough Council’s Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Services, Lynton Green, said: “The council maintains an excellent record of collecting a high proportion of council tax and other incomes but it is inevitable that occasionally we have to write off some debts.
“Residents should be reassured that we take every action available before writing off debts which it is no longer economical to pursue.”