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MORE than £22.5million in debt is owed to Pembrokeshire County Council a report to audit committee states.

At its meeting in December, the committee had asked about the total amount of money the council is owed, what steps are being taken not recover that debt and is there an idea of what amount may never be recovered?

A report on Tuesday (February 2) detailed the money owed, with the total amount received on the ‘Finance “Anite” Debtor System on January 4, 2021, standing at £14,552,673.

This is made up of £4.2million of accounts receivable, £9.2million of residential care debt and more than £1million of “periodic debt.”

A second system – the ‘Revenue “Northgate” System – had a total of £8,020,353 recorded, made up of more than £4million in council tax arrears and housing tenant arrears of nearly £2million.

There is also £486,520 recorded on the ‘Social Care “Trojan” System as of January 18, 2021.

Cllr Mike Stoddart asked about how much of a problem long-standing care debts were, referring to previous information from Cllr Bob Kilmister about the requirement to wait until a former home is sold to recoup debts, in line with national policy.

Finance manager Richard Edwards, who presented the report to the committee, said it was “not so much of a problem but we are now recording it more transparently” with currently around £2million linked to homes awaiting sale.

There were now staff dedicated to contacting those in arrears and encouraging payment or signing up to a payment plans the committee heard, with around 200 people out of 300 contacted over the last couple of months.

The committee also heard that “bad debt provisions” tend to be higher than the amount that is ultimately written off, with each debt reviewed on a case by case basis when all recovery procedures have been exhausted, with final sign off from the director of resources.

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