Spalding

South Holland District Council set to write off over £130k of ‘uncollectable’ debt

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South Holland District Council is set to write off debts of over £130,000 which it claims are uncollectable.

The council’s cabinet will be asked to approve the write off of £132,787.67 in debts the authority considers to be “irrecoverable” at a meeting in Spalding on Tuesday, March 27.

Almost three quarters of the amount presented for write off comes in the form of uncollected business rates which amounts to just under £98,000.

Fifteen of the 17 accounts in question have been unable to pay due to insolvency.

Nearly £18,000 of the amount set to be written off is council tax, with just over £4,600 in overpayments of housing benefit.

The remaining £12,000 is uncollected sundry debt.

Some of the debts date as far back as 2010 and 2011, with the majority coming from the 2015-16 financial year.

The council has said that 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 left behind.

It added that all methods of recovery such as collection agents, tracing agents, and court proceedings are considered before making a decision to write off debt.

Sharon Hammond, head of service, revenues and benefits, said in a report to the council’s cabinet: “By the nature, volume and value 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. Provision for bad debt is made and reviewed regularly.

“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.”