Bexley council facing more than £73m in debt

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

A council is reportedly more than £2.6million in debt due to unpaid parking charges.

Bexley council has revealed it is facing £73million in debt, with more than £2.6million of that sum from parking charges over the past two years.

The figure comes from an agenda report for a general purposes and audit committee meeting for Bexley council on September 28.

Council documents said the debt from parking charges had recently grown due to the increased number of fines being issued as well as a backlog of appeals.

Officers cited low resources as the reason for the delay in payments being received, as well as an IT error which stopped cases progressing to enforcement agents.

The difficulty in receiving payments reportedly led to the turnaround time of appeals to fines becoming on average about 50 days.

The report said that 29,095 parking charges had been issued between April and July this year, with 15 per cent of the fines in this period remaining unpaid by the end of July.

It added that 76,465 parking fines were issued in the 2022/23 financial year overall, and that over £650,000 of parking debt had already been written off in the current financial year.

The majority of the council’s overall debt was attributed to council tax, with £40.5million as debt outstanding and over half of this sum being more than two years old.

Recent increases to the debt in the past year were attributed to increased council tax charges equating to a higher value for arrears.

Other sources of the council’s sum of debt included overpayments of housing benefits.

The council was £7.5million in debt due to overpayments from the past two years, which was reportedly because claimants did not tell the authority about changes in their personal circumstances quickly enough.

Pictured top: Bexley Civic Offices, where Bexley council is based (Picture: Google Earth)

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