The county council is owed about £12.5million from its various debtors, including other councils, with around three-quarters of that amount written off over the past four years.
A recent report to the authority’s economic scrutiny committee revealed that as of the end of September this year, Northumberland County Council was owed £12.586million, although this is down from £22million in January this year.
This comes as the council’s Labour adminstration has started consultation on proposals to cut another £44million from its budget over the next two financial years, with millions already cut in recent years.
The report explains that ‘an integral part of debt recovery is the effective management of irrecoverable debts to ensure that resources are applied effectively to the collection of monies outstanding which can reasonably be expected to be collected’.
As of the end of September, £800,000 had been written off in 2014/15, which follows total write-offs of £2.1million in 2013/14, £2.5million in 2012/13 and £3.2million in 2011/12.
At the same point, five debtors owed the council more than £100,000 – including an NHS customer and a council, although they aren’t named in the report. The unnamed council owes £1.3million.
In terms of council tax, at March 31, £11.7million was outstanding in total with £4.2million relating to the 2013/14 financial year. The arrears have been reduced by £2.3million since April 1 this year.