£11.5 million debt owed to Aberdeen Council written off

3rd January 2017

Debt of more than £11.5 million owed to Aberdeen City Council has been written off. The debt relates to 5 years of debt which exact amount is of £11,593,956. The figure relates to uncollectable debt the council has decided not to pursue. It includes council tax, business rates, community charge, housing benefit overpayment and service income.

The council says debt will always be pursued but a number of reasons like being unable to trace offending parties means some debt will be written off. This year the council wrote off £830,859, which was down from 2014/2015’s figure of £1,175,771.10 In total £4,754,996 has been written off by the local authority with regards to council tax since 2011.

Willie Young, convener of finance, policy and resources, said the council had collected £1.5 billion pounds in council tax and business rates over the last five years. He said: “Aberdeen City Council’s policy has always been to chase debt whenever it is due and £2.5m of the £11.5m write off figure was written off by the Scottish Government following their decision to write off the Community Charge.”

The local authority recorded a council tax collection rate of 95.3% in 2015/2016, which is higher than Glasgow’s 94.7% but lower than Edinburgh’s 96.4%.

The percentage of council tax received at the end of the financial year this year was also 95.3%.

Young added: “I can assure the public that Aberdeen City Council always pursues debt owed right up until the point it is uneconomical to recover. It could be uneconomical to recover through a variety of reasons such as being unable to trace offenders, residents being deceased or sequestration orders being granted.”

Young said the council would continue to work with the public and businesses to collect tax due.