Blackpool Council forced to write off more bad debt

Blackpool Council has written off debts totalling £400,000 after all efforts to recoup the cash have failed.

Saturday, 21st December 2019, 6:00 am

The bulk of the money owed is in business rates totalling nearly £249,000 mainly from failed ventures and where there is no prospect of recovering any funds.

This is less than the £700,000 in business rates cancelled out by the council when it last reported its write offs in February this year.

That sum included more than £300,000 owed by cabaret venue Funny Girls Ltd which when it went into administration in September 2018.

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Blackpool Council has had to write off bad debt
Blackpool Council has had to write off bad debt

Thwaites bought the business in January but in August sold it back to previous owner Basil Newby.

This time around the biggest single business rates debt is £48,000 owed by an un-named hotel.

More than £25,000 is owned by an un-named amusement arcade where the owner has died, while other unpaid sums are owed by pubs and shops with the debt often due to bankruptcy.

Other debts - some of which date back as far as 2010 - include non-payment of council tax, housing benefit overpayments and unpaid invoices.

Individual debtors have died in some cases leaving no estate, while others are untraceable.

The council regularly writes debts off as part of its accounting procedures after all avenues to recover the money have failed.

Nearly £23,000 in unpaid council tax, with some bills dating back to 2010, are among the latest raft of debts along with housing benefit overpayments of £48,000.

Other sundry debts totalling nearly £70,000 include an invoice for £29,700 from October 2016 relating to damaged nodules on The Tower.

It was the subject of a legal battle but the debtor has since gone bankrupt.

The council makes financial provision to write off some elements of business rate and council tax debt.

A report by the council's director of resources Steve Thompson says while it is "good practice" to write off legitimate debt, it "can be re-instated at a later date should there be an unforeseen opportunity to recover part or all of the debt."