Council / ‘Strong performance’ on written-off council debt, meeting hears

THE ‘BAD debt’ written off by Shetland Islands Council in 2023/24 amounted to more than £200,000.

The total figure was £217,735, which equated to 0.22 per cent of the £100 million-plus collected by the local authority during the year through payments such as council tax, housing rent and non-domestic rates.

Finance manager Paul Fraser said the 0.22 per cent figure represented a “very strong performance”.

He said it also showed good working between SIC teams in terms of working sympathetically with people whilst also maximising income to the council.

A report to members of the SIC’s policy and resources committee on Monday highlighted that the debts identified for write-off are those where “all efforts to recover the debt have been exhausted and the prospects of recovering funds are negligible or nil”.

The highest proportion of the 2023/24 bad debt related to housing, amounting to £150,686.


Meanwhile North Isles councillor Robert Thomson expressed surprise over a service level agreement between the SIC and Scottish Water which gives the council authority to write off Scottish Water debt as part of the annual council tax write-off.

He said it was an “almost farcical” situation where the SIC has to “collect it for Scottish Water […] and bear any bad debts”.

For 2023/24 the Scottish Water element amounted to nearly £14,000.

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