Southend notches up £11m council tax debt

Southend City Council has accumulated £11 million in council tax debts from prior financial years, it has been revealed.

The council is set to review a raft of debts that will have to be written off as uncollectable.

Other areas of debt include the recovery of housing benefit overpayments, parking and enforcement penalties, adult social care and library fines along with rents and services.

A total value of £119.6 million of council tax was due to be collected in 2023/24, with a target of 97.5 per cent. The council collected a total of £116.8 million – 97.6 per cent. This represents the highest in-year collection performance since 2013.

The cumulative debt for housing benefit overpayments is £4 million, reduced from £4.5 million in the previous financial year.

A Corporate Debt Management report due to be presented to cabinet shows the total debt identified for write off for adult social care is £564,804.

From April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024 a total of 71,385 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) have been issued with a potential income of £2,140,720.

The value of cancelled parking fines for 2023/24 is £579,306 and cases written off where no vehicle owner has been identified totals £25,229.

The council has nine write offs valued at over £25,000.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter