Welsh Conservative research has revealed that over the last 5 financial years, Welsh councils have written off at least £86,990,313 in debts, including council tax, benefits, rental income, non-domestic rates, court costs, invoices and various debtors.
Commenting, Welsh Conservative Shadow Local Government Minister, Sam Rowlands MS said:
“While debts are often written off with good reason, the huge sums of money currently being lost by some councils raises serious questions.
“The Labour Government need to look into whether or not there is a cost benefit to pursuing some of these debts more vigorously to ease the pressure on council budgets and by extension the taxpayer.”
Welsh Conservative Shadow Finance Minister, Peter Fox MS added:
“This substantial amount of written off debt adds further argument against the council tax rises we will see across Wales this year of up to 12.5%.
“Given that Welsh councils have over £2 billion in useable reserves and have written off tens of millions, the Labour Government need to urgently review the situation to see if their assistance can allow excess funds to be mobilised to ease the pressure on hardworking bill payers.”
As part of the Welsh Conservative action plan, the party has called for a proportion of council reserves, above a threshold, to be used to freeze council tax over the next two years.
Particularly shocking totals include: the over £19 million written off by Cardiff Council and the nearly £13 million written off by Swansea Council, in the last 5 years.
Note to editors:
- Please see attached full details of written off debts for 21 of Wales’ 22 local authorities (Isle of Anglesey Council did not respond). Individual FOI responses available on request.
- Also see attached full details of proposed council tax rises for each of Wales’ 22 local authorities and council reserves from the most recent Whole of Government Accounts.