Amount of debt we’re writing off is falling

How much debt are we writing-off?

Our Corporate Governance and Audit Committee members were asked to agree to the write-off of 1.3% of all the debt outstanding to the council in 2017/18 – or £5.5 million.

This continues the downward trend for write-offs as follows:-

1.4% (5.8 million) in 2016/17

1.7% (£6.8 million) in 2015/16

2.2% (£8.9 million) in 2014/15

As the seventh largest council in the country, we have more than 186,200 properties liable for council tax, raising £189 million, and more than 15,700 properties for business rates, to raise £104 million.

Why are we not chasing the debts?

The Acting Chief Finance Officer Eamonn Croston said:

“The write-off figures demonstrate how important it is for everyone to pay their share of council tax, business rates and other charges to help fund essential council services.

Arrears overall are falling and collection is rising year on year. As an example, the arrears for council tax have fallen by 21% since 2014/15.

The council aims to maximise its collection and recovery of all debts before asking for debt to be written off.  The recovery process ensures that all accounts in arrears are chased through reminders, summonses, and court proceedings to allow use of bailiffs, attachment to earnings or benefits, issuing committal proceedings, instigating insolvency proceedings, or putting charging orders on properties.

It only writes off arrears where it appears it would not be cost effective to collect or the debtor has absconded. Equally, if circumstances change, previously written off debts can be pursued again.”

The Corporate Governance and Audit Committee discussed the report on Friday 27 July.

Where can I find out more?

Read the report in full

More information can be found on the council tax  section on our website.


  • I find it interesting how you can write off debt ,yet let people be a few weeks behind in council tax payments your onto them sending out letters.Get your priorities right. People who have trouble keeping up payments ,are those usually working !!!

  • Jeannette Merson

    £5million! Maybe the Council need a different strategy for some of these people who have no intention of paying!

  • I hope the Councillors who think they are above paying Council Tax like the rest of us, are asked to pay their share.

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