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Peterborough City Council writes off more than £1.3m of ‘uncollectable’ debt

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Peterborough City Council will write-off £1.3 million of ‘uncollectable’ debt in the next few weeks because it says the money cannot be recovered.

The figure was put before members at Monday’s (February 11) meeting of the council’s Audit Committee.

Peter Carpenter, acting director of Corporate Resources for the council, said: “Following a lengthy process to recover this outstanding money, some of which dates back many years, the only option left will be for the council to consider writing it off.

“The vast majority of this money (94 per cent) is related to non-domestic rates. Given the high volume and value of invoices and bills issued over a period of many years, there will inevitably be sums of money that simply cannot be recovered.

“In cases such as these, the only viable option for the council is to consider writing the money off completely, as it would cost far too much to try and chase it any further.”

The figure of nearly £1.36 million will need the approval of the Government’s Cabinet Minister to write-off.

Each year Peterborough City Council raises over £100 million in non-domestic rates, so the write-off figure expressed as a percentage is only 0.135 per cent.

To further strengthen its debt collection procedures, the council has now implemented a ‘robust, end-to-end accounts receivable process’.

In future, any large outstanding debts will be written-off on a quarterly basis.

Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporting Service

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