More than £680,000 of unpaid business rates will be written off by cash-strapped Wolverhampton City Council, prompting calls for more to be done to reclaim debts.
Council bosses in the city will be asked to write off the money – at a time when the authority is battling to save £98 million over the next five years.
The move has been criticised by opponents, who say the current climate means everything possible should be done to claw back money owed.
But the city council says more than 80 per cent of the written-off business rates are due to bankruptcies or liquidations.
The total amount of business rates that will be written off is £683,793.
Half of this would have gone into council coffers.
Neville Patten, leader of the opposition Conservative party, said: “Not enough has been done in the past to claim this money.
“I can’t understand why they just write it off. I do think we should be reducing the business rates to attract more businesses in but in cases where rates that are owed have not been paid, more should be done to collect them. In this current climate, we should be going out and making sure we can get as much money as is owed.”
But spokesman for Wolverhampton City Council, Tim Clark said the majority of the business rates – 81 per cent – was due to bankruptcy, liquidation or companies that no longer trade.
“We have no control over debts in these circumstances,” he said.