Council delighted at £4 million increase in debt recovery

IN the past 12 months Thurrock Council has collected over £50 million in sundry debt revenues – £4 million more than the year before.

Cllr Phil Smith, portfolio holder for central services said on Thursday: “The figures are now in and I’m pleased to say we brought in £51½ million including a record £6½ million in March.”

He added: “We have to tread a very narrow line between getting people to pay what they owe and not bullying or pressurising vulnerable people.

“On the other hand, the thousands of people who pay their bills on time deserve to do so in the knowledge that nobody is cheating the system. The more who do that increases the costs to those who are up-front and honest.”

Cllr Smith said: “This is not council tax debt, but things such as nursery fees and part-payment of care packages.

“We’d all love to be able to provide these things for nothing, but we can’t. There are rules and laws detailing what we can and cannot charge for and, in many cases, how much that charge should be.

“To be fair to everyone we have to chase up as much of the money we are owed as possible and the collection team have done a good job.”

He said that the debt outstanding at the start of April is £5.039 million – less than that collected in March alone, and that owed for six months or more was now down to £1.61 million, the lowest since July 2009.

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