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stoke on trent council chasing mounting skips debt

10 Apr 2012

Taxpayers owe Stoke-on-Trent City Council around £8.6 million after a continued failure to pay for a whole host of services over a 15 year period.

The authority have now set about trying to claim back the millions of pounds in minor debts from thousands of residents that live across the city.

Much of the money that is owed is down to the authority allowing its residents to use services with the option of settling the bill at a later date. This has forced the council to introduce new policies that force them to pay upfront “wherever possible”.

The hiring of skips is amongst the range of services that the debt covers, which also includes allotments, licensing fees and planning costs and waste collection from businesses.

The council has begun the process of selling off a package of rent, tax and other debts to a debt collection agency in a last-ditch attempt to reclaim them.

Terry Cope, chairman of Greenfields Residents’ Association, said: “It just shows the level of incompetence there has been. Considering they are making cuts all across the city, it’s no wonder people call us Joke-on-Trent.”

The council did not say who owed them the most money, though, it was revealed that the debts have piled up since Stoke-on-Trent gained unitary status in 1997.

Councillor Sarah Hill, cabinet member for finance, said: “It’s now about how we manage it from here on in. We have got to be much more savvy about what we expect of people.”

After changes in the policy, the council have said that collection rates for the debts are steadily improving.

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