MORE than £13,000 in business rates debt is set to be written off by Ribble Valley councillors.

The local authority is owed £13,512.03 from two businesses and members of the council’s policy and finance committee are being asked to approve writing off the debts.

Cool Base Ltd in Clitheroe has been dissolved as part of the liquidation process and owes £3,412.75 from 2017/18 and £5,493.30 from 2018/19.

And Fieldens Arms Ltd of Whalley Road in Mellor Brook has been liquidated while owing £4,665.98 in unpaid business rates from 2018/19.

Director of resources Mark Edmondson said: “No specific statute exists to give guidance on the circumstances under which debts, in general, can be written off other than the statute of limitations.

"We only write debts off where all avenues of debt recovery have been fully explored.

"As a matter of law, we are under obligation to take reasonable steps to collect Business Rates debts.

"We do this by various means, including summonses, enforcement agents, bankruptcy, winding up and committal warrants.

"However, there are some cases where debtors simply leave their property with arrears and where we have no forwarding address, or are declared bankrupt, insolvent or cease trading.

"There is one case where a company has been dissolved and one which has been liquidated and therefore we need to write off these debts.

"Details of the debts we are seeking approval to write off against the collection fund – these total £13,572.03 business rates.

“It is unlikely in these cases that, as an unsecured creditor, we will receive any funds but if we do an adjustment will be made to the amount written off."

Last year, it was revealed almost £12million in unpaid business rates had been written off by Blackburn with Darwen Council over the last five years.

Since 2013/14, the council has written off £11.8million in uncollected national non-domestic rates, topping out at £3m in 2016/17.

But council chiefs say although the money is written off in terms of the local authority’s accounts, the debts will still be pursued wherever possible.