Council writes off debts of more than £600,000

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Scottish Borders Council wrote off debts totalling £627,000 in the last financial year – an increase on the £575,000 which was written off in 2013/14 but less than the £1.02m incurred the year before that.

The figure includes £239,900 in Council Tax, £14,500 in non-domestic business rates, £16,000 in overpayments of housing benefits and £357,200 in “sundry debt”, much of which relates to unpaid charges for social work services.

Councillors heard this week that the bulk of write-offs were down to the insolvency of debtors.

The criteria for the council not pursuing debtors includes when all options for recovery have been exhausted, when it becomes too uneconomic to pursue and if Sheriff Officers advise that the debtor simply cannot be traced.