A WOKINGHAM councillor was sent two council tax reminders last year asking them to cough up hundreds of pounds which had not been paid. 

The elected member, whose identity is not known, was sent notices asking for £428 and £858.70 after failing to pay out the first time of asking.

Despite being sent the reminders, the councillor paid-up and did not receive a visit from bailiffs.

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This comes as figures obtained by the News show Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) missed out on more than £700,000 in unpaid debts last year.

A big chunk of these arrears comes from unrecovered business rates -- WBC could not claw back almost £468,000 of this cash.

More than £150,000 of unpaid council tax was missed and WBC lost £108,000 in housing benefit overpayments.

Councillor John Kaiser, WBC’s finance chief said despite missing out on £720,000 last year, the authority recovered 99.4 per cent of all debt in 2018/2019.

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He added: “Every effort is made to recover debt wherever possible and ‘write-off’ action is only taken when there is no real prospect of recovery and all avenues have been exhausted.

“The council recognises certain groups of people may be especially vulnerable and require additional assistance in dealing with their financial affairs.

“When it comes to the attention of an officer that a person is or may be vulnerable, extra assistance and support will be given to help them and in certain instances, the debt may be written off.

“There are various other reasons why debt may be written off, for example: when people pass away; when it would cost more to collect than the debt is worth; and when a company or individual has been declared bankrupt.

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“During all stages of council tax recovery, the council will try and work with the liable party to reach an amicable resolution as well as discussing all financial options to obtain a sustainable and affordable repayment plan.”

Enforcement agents were used more than 2,200 times in 2018/2019 in efforts made to claw back the cash -- the highest amount from the last five years.

Neighbouring authority Bracknell Forest Council missed out on £683,000 in 2018/2019.

As of January 2020, the council had written off £200,000 in council tax, business rates and housing benefit overpayments for the current financial year.