Dundee City Council has written off £12.8 million of debt in just three years according to local news sources. An investigation into the local authority’s finances has uncovered the large sums owed to the public purse that were written off between 2013 and 2016. That included more than £4.75m in unpaid rates from businesses, £2m in unpaid council tax and almost £1m in housing benefit overpayments which had not been handed back.
In addition, £1.8m of unpaid rent was written off from the council’s housing revenue account. The write-offs include historical debt from before 2013 which the council only decided to scrap in the last three years. The information was released just weeks after the local authority revealed it has to make £12.5m worth of cuts from its budget in 2017/18.
Greg Colgan, head of customer services at the local authority, insisted “all reasonable steps” were taken to recover the money before any debt was written off. Colgan, who oversees council tax, housing benefits and IT services, said: “We offer support and advice for those unable to pay and take all reasonable steps to recover debt — but in some cases we can’t. Writing it off does not mean it is not recoverable. If we can’t find someone now but two years later we can, we can work to recover the money.”