South Lanarkshire Council has written off more than £6 million in unpaid revenue. Councillors at the local authority rubberstamped the move at a finance committee last week. Among that amount is over £4.5m in unpaid non-domestic rates. The sums relate to non-payment of rates from 2014 until this year.

Debts totaling just over £2.541m from financial years 2015/16 until 2017/18 are attributed to liquidations, debtors having ceased trading or traders that have been sequestered. A further £2.042m is because of a policy to write off nondomestic rates debt after three years and relates to balances from the financial year 2014/15.

Councillors on a finance committee were told that full provision had been made for these loses from over three years ago so there would be no financial impact. They were also told that recovery action would continue despite the accounting adjustment. The council committee will be asked to write off a total of £6,086,783.18 in uncollected revenue. Over £629,000 of that figure relates to unpaid council tax.

This relates mainly to prescribed debt, sequestrations, and estates of the deceased. Sundry debt accounts for over £538,000 of the total. Housing rent and associated charges account for over £318,000. Nearly 60 percent of that figure relates to former tenant rent arrears. A further £112,000 is due to housing benefit overpayments with the rest due to factoring arrears.

Despite the write-offs, council officers say that they had collected over £2.3m in council tax arrears up until the end of September this year, 4.9 per cent ahead of target. They had also collected £2.58m in rates arrears, three percent ahead of target.

However, the £6.6m of sundry debt arrears that had been collected was slightly below the target for the period.

Source: Daily Record