REDDITCH Borough Council is owed more than £1million in rent arrears.
The figure came to light at last week’s council Overview and Scrutiny committee (O&S) following a question on what percentage of rent was collected from tenants.
It comes after the cash-strapped Conservative-led authority proposed removing concessionary rents from voluntary and community sector charities in council properties to save £82,000 a year.
And this week its executive committee voted to close the Rubicon Business Centre which is losing £80,000 a year, affecting some 20 businesses.
However Councillor Joe Baker (Lab, Greenlands) who chairs O&S said instead of making such drastic cuts the council should look at collecting more of what it is owed.
“I was shocked when I saw the the figure of more than £1million owed,” he said.
“If you are getting away with tenant arrears like that there’s no incentive to pay.
“The council needs to look at ways of pulling that money in instead of cutting concessionary rents for vital charities and closing business centres.”
The authority needs to find £1.2million in saving in the next financial year and Coun Baker said the £1million debt could be used in many different wyas to alleviate the situation.
The figures presented to O&S show in the year to March 31, 2019, the council collected £22,829,827 in rents, with cumulative arrears of £1,047,370.