City owed 260k in unpaid fines

By Rob George Friday 28 December 2012 Updated: 31/12 12:10

MORE than £260,000 is owed to cash-strapped Worcester City Council in unpaid parking fines from the past three years.

But the council has written off more than £127,000 of the money owed to it by drivers who have failed to stump up the cash.

The council insisted vigorous efforts were being made to pursue outstanding fines but the Labour Group’s finance spokesman Coun Richard Boorn branded the figures “embarrassing” and “unacceptable.”

The Standard can reveal £126,912 is owed to the council this year alone of which just over £4,000 has been written off by enforcement officers.

Last year the council failed to collect £78,622 of which £63,248 was written off, while in 2010 every penny of the £59,708 owed to it was written off.

Coun Boorn said it sent the wrong message to motorists and called on the council to strengthen its enforcement.

“It’s unacceptable and an embarrassing statistic for the council because we have a duty to collect this money,” Coun Boorn said.

“For all those people who didn’t pay their parking fines there will be numerous who did and it is completely unfair on them.

“It’s an offence to park in certain areas of the city or not to pay for a ticket in a car park so there is no excuse.

“We write off money for parking fines, for non payment of council tax - but it sends out the wrong message. You have to have strong enforcement otherwise what is the point of making these laws and rules?”

A council spokesman said: “Vigorous efforts are made to pursue outstanding fines, but in cases for example where the person pursued has left the country or has no assets with which they can repay the fine, then there is no real alternative other than to write off the debt.

“Thanks to increased efficiencies, the amount written off so far this year at £4,053 is very significantly less than last year.”

The written off figures include additional costs incurred by the council in attempting to recover the cash in accordance with the Traffic Management Act 2004.

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