MORE than £1million of debt could be written off by East Renfrewshire Council.

Members of the authority’s cabinet are being asked to approve the move, which would cancel debts racked up in council tax, housing benefit overpayments, rents arrears and court expenses.

Roughly £800,000 of uncollected non-domestic rates (NDR) could also be written off.
Council chiefs said all viable means of debt recovery had been exhausted.

READ MORE: Students accuse bus chiefs of discrimination over new day ticket​

Council deputy Caroline Innes said: “The decision to seek write-off is not taken lightly. Should any future avenue become available by which to recover these monies, this decision does not prevent any such opportunities being pursued.

“As per standard accountancy practice, when it is clear all viable means of collection are exhausted, the debt is written off and a release from the bad debt provision is used to offset this expense.

“There is no net impact on the overall revenue accounts of the council, as bad debt provision has already been provided for the debt not being repaid.

“The council sets the level of bad debt provision at a prudent level to minimise risk to the council.”

Writing off debt is considered when the debtor dies and has left no estate, the debtor has been sequestrated, or has moved away and all attempts to trace them have been made.

Sometimes small balances can be uneconomical to pursue, a report states.

Figures show council tax arrears of £220,000, nearly £45,000 in sundry debt, and more than £90,000 in housing benefit overpayments.

READ MORE: Game proves to be a winner in Barrhead and Newton Mearns​

The council, which collects water and sewerage charges for Scottish Water, is also in talks about writing off charges totalling more than £72,000.

Cabinet will be asked to write off up to £84,000 of irrecoverable NDRs from 2018-19, when two businesses were dissolved, six were liquidated and two sequestrated. They will also be asked to write off historical NDR debt of in excess of £814,000 dating back to 2005.

NDR has been administered on the council’s behalf by Renfrewshire Council since 2005 and the move to write off historical debt follows a data-cleansing exercise led by the neighbouring authority.

This debt relates to 68 businesses and dates from 2005 to 2013, with 47 per cent of the value related to two ratepayers.

The cabinet will be asked to approve writing off up to more than £75,000 of former tenant irrecoverable rents and court expenses.