£1m in unpaid debts written off by North Lincolnshire Council
NORTH Lincolnshire Council is to write off more than £1 million in unpaid debts.
The cash, which amounts to £1,127,845.81, is money the authority says cannot be recovered or is uneconomic to pursue.
The biggest single case relates to a firm which the council said had business rate debts of £158,426.58.
An out-of-court settlement was reached with the firm and the council has received £47,000.
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And the largest single sum of council tax debt to be written off is £5,432, dating back to 2007.
Councillor Neil Poole, cabinet member for policy and resources, said: "In any organisation, be it a small local business or a multi-national company, you will incur uncollectable debt.
"Local authorities are not exempt from this process.
"However, I do feel North Lincolnshire Council has an excellent team of officers who do a difficult job very well.
"Our council tax collection rate of 99.4 per cent shows we will leave no stone unturned to recover money owed to the council tax-payers of North Lincolnshire."
Money owed includes debts relating to council tax, national non-domestic business rates, housing benefit overpayment and car parking penalty charge notices.
Despite being written off, the debts will remain on the council's records and could still be collected in the future.
And councillors have stressed the write-offs come against a backdrop of above-average collection rates for council tax and business rates.
The authority is estimating it will recover 99.4 per cent of both council tax and business rates for the current financial year in the fullness of time.
Of this, 97.5 per cent is expected to be collected by March 31.
The majority of uncollectable debt is shown to be business rates, which accounts for £551,026.22 of the total.
Mr Poole insisted the authority would take a tough stance against people who did not pay debts.
He said: "If someone can't pay, we will do all we can to assist them to find a way of recovering the money.
"If they won't pay, we will use every legal method to pursue them to recover North Lincolnshire tax-payers' money."
Council figures show £34,523 in previously written-off council tax debt has been recovered in the last year.
This adds to £3,348 business rates and £800 in other debts.