Harlow Council set to write off over £750,000 worth of debt

News / Mon 15th Jan 2024 at 11:02am

HARLOW Council is set to recommend writing off over £750,000 worth of monies owed to them.

The “debt write off” is on the agenda for tonight’s meeting (Monday January 15th).

Recommended that:
A. Irrecoverable Council Tax amounting to £26,966.49 be written off.
B. Irrecoverable Non-Domestic Rates amounting to £637,414.50 be written off
C. Irrecoverable Sundry Debts amounting to £66,917.71 be written off.
D. Irrecoverable Housing Benefit overpayments amounting to £44,919.84 be written off.

Other Options

A There are no other options other than to write off these debts as all other options have
been exhausted.
B Where a debtor has absconded and attempts to trace have failed, if the debtor is
subsequently located, the debt is reinstated, and recovery action recommences.


  1. Harlow Council has an excellent record of recovering monies owed by customers. The
    Council collects 99% of Non-domestic Rates due and over 99% of Council Tax. Debts
    are only ever written off as a last resort and where recovery is deemed to be impossible.
    The amounts put forward for write-off in this report amount to less than 1% of the total
    collectable debts.
  2. All efforts to recover debts are undertaken in accordance with the relevant legislation.
  3. On-going review processes have identified –
    a) 45 Council Tax Debit Balances, all of which relate to one company which was
    dissolved in September 2020. The debts relate to a block of apartments owned by the
    developer of the site (the company) and relate to council tax debts accrued for short
    periods once completed and prior to sale of the block. The company was
    subsequently dissolved. All attempts to recover the debts were unsuccessful.

More details are below.


Film of the agenda item will be posted on Tuesday morning.

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16 Comments for Harlow Council set to write off over £750,000 worth of debt:

David morton
2024-01-15 14:46:21

Tax payers money.

2024-01-15 15:41:10

Harlow Council . If you write this money off , don't dare plead poverty in the future.

2024-01-15 16:39:22

Yet they sent a letter to my 79 year old mum only today to say she eas in rent arr,which she has never ever been in her life and it was their mistake. I am sick of the lot of them. The longer you have been in this country and town,the bloody worse we are treated.

2024-01-15 17:27:34

Oh really!!! Write this amount off then start charging tenents additional amounts back etc in every way you can to recover it back again.... But the process of this big idea is to make you look like your helping & you care. Who do you think your fooling apart from yourselves. Think you need to go back & put your heads together & rethink this whole incredibly big idea of yours out again... wow what are you coming up with next & how would you explain it after all other rediculous ideas of your spending when it comes back & catches up with you!!!!

2024-01-15 17:33:58

None payment of council tax can lead to imprisonment. Are those who have not paided currently facing this ? If not why not, because honestly the threat of prison is the only reason I pay.

Councillor James Leppard
2024-01-15 17:35:05

It is a pity that YH did not contact the Council first as the report is misleading. The debt write-offs relate to the period March 2020 to December 2023: 3 YEARS AND 9 MONTHS and not a single Financial Year as the report tends to imply. The reason behind this is because the Courts were closed during the COVID pandemic. Furthermore, normal collection actions were considerably reduced as staff were needed to administer make a number of Government grant payments to local businesses, groups and individuals to alleviate financial strains resulting from the lockdowns. Normal recovery actions are fully functioning. Residents can rest assured that the level of debt write-offs is below 1% of the total owed and is in line with historic levels.

2024-01-15 17:35:21

Ome more thought, are the non domestic rates business which went out of business due to the government's policies re covid and high taxes ?

2024-01-15 18:47:23

James whose party closed the courts for a cold?

2024-01-15 19:58:57

I just laugh at most things now,its one rule for one and one for another. We have lost our town,wehave lost our country. We are treated like total fools and there is so much b******* and corruption everywhere now,that it is truly shocking and boring at the same time.I just do my own thing,lol. Its just lie after lie after lie. Yawn yawn.

2024-01-16 01:12:21

Thats a bit rich that cllr Leppard says the report by YH was misleading. Isn't that what the rabble we have on the council doing every day to the electorate

Luke Burton
2024-01-16 08:03:17

The article isn't misleading in the slightest. Where does it suggest that the debt was accumulated over a single fiscal year?

Guy Flegman
2024-01-16 08:39:56

Most of the money seems related to business rates, of which a large percentage will be money owed by foreign landlords for empty premises, not to mention I suspect that they are probably trying to charge rates on the premises that have been demolished around town due to bureaucratic incompetence/lag. There will also be an amount that has been challenged by the tenant. Overall I think they are not righting off that much at all.

2024-01-16 09:55:52

They can write it off as they’re putting the council tax up anyway which will bring in more than £750.000 it’s just smoke and mirrors 😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣

Steven Walters
2024-01-16 14:22:15

People should pay their bills

2024-01-16 14:22:49

Yeah to compensate all these people who got away with not paying into the system, they are putting our council tax up. So we don’t struggle enough to pay council tax already? Some of us have to sacrifice food and gas to pay council tax and it lines the greedy councils pockets . CEOs at the council should take a pay cut to help out everyday people. We are paying for these fat cats at the top to eat more than we ever do and a far as local councillors go, they get three grand a year for that and most of them don’t even turn up in the chamber and don’t care about people in their ward- not all of them, some are proactive, but a lot do nothing for that money and you still vote them in. . They don’t care , they just pretend too wholst everyday people struggling pay for thiem to pretend to care. Before you go on about the unemployed , they pay their share back into the system which breaks them financially and now I’m wondering if I should continue to pay in myself now, since you can get away with it like all these others are .

Steven Walters
2024-01-16 14:22:59

You should get the money owed. It can go towards fixing up your houses.

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