Debt collection not quick enough say Flintshire councillors

Reporter:

Matt Jones

FLINTSHIRE Council is owed nearly £1m in rent arrears but is not cutting the bill fast enough, according to councillors.

The local authority reduced the arrears owed by its tenants by £28,000 to £879,504 from the 2008/09 end of year figure, but three months ago the amount owed topped the £1m mark.

The latest figures were given to members of the community and housing overview and scrutiny committee at a meeting at County Hall yesterday.

An Income Management team will be set up with the aim of cutting the bill.

Cllr Ron Hampson, chair of the committee, said improvements needed to be made when the team was put in place.

He said: “It is good news, but not good enough,  £28,000 a year is not a lot with what we have outstanding.”

With the Income Management team set to come into force in June, a target of reducing arrears by a further £70,000 has been set for the end of this financial year.

Cllr George Hardcastle said: “It is not good, but we are going in the right direction, it is going down.”

As well as some tenants paying a weekly payment towards their debt, Flintshire Council successfully managed to evict five tenants while three others settled.

More than 2,000 cases involve arrears up to £600 while there are 20 cases involving debts of more than £3,000.

The figure from earlier in the year included rents which were paid by direct debit, all of which were settled by the end of the financial year.

See full story in the Leader

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