Debts of almost £600,000 to be written off by Norwich City Council amid High Street woes

Norwich City Council is to write off almost £600,000 in business rates debt. Photo: Nick Butcher.

Norwich City Council is to write off almost £600,000 in business rates debt. Photo: Nick Butcher. - Credit: EDP pics © 2007

Debts of more than half a million pounds are to be written off by Norwich City Council, after companies got into financial difficulties while owing business rates.

Norwich City Council's cabinet is expected to agree to write off just under £580,000 of business rates deemed to be irrecoverable.

That will take the total business rate debt written off in the past financial year to more than £1m, although council bosses say 'significant work' is done to pursue all outstanding debt.

In a report which will come before the council's cabinet tomorrow, City Hall's director of business Anton Bull said: 'There are debts where, despite this work, the debt is believed to be irrecoverable, often because the company owing the money has become insolvent.'

The sum of just under £580,000 the cabinet is asked to write off relates to four companies.

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The first is Homebase, which has had a company voluntary arrangement in place since August last year. That is a form of insolvency designed to help struggling businesses get on a more stable financial footing.

The Norwich store in Hall Road still had to pay full rates up to December 31 last year, but for the remaining 90 days of the fniancial year, the agreement terms means it only has to pay 10pc of the balance, before normal payments resume from April.

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That means just under £100,000 needs to be written off.

The second company is Genus UK Ltd, trading as women's fashion shop Select, which has a store in Castle Mall.

A similar company voluntary arrangement is in place, which means a little over £80,000 must be written off.

The third debt relates to Game Station, which used to be in Castle Mall. It went into administration more than three years ago, before it was dissolved in 2016.

The company had owed nearly £160,000 because of the terms of its 25-year lease, but council officers say that will not be recovered.

The final company is Flexi Office Solutions, which owes more than £240,000. The company, which used to manage The Union Building in Rose Lane, was dissolved in August 2017.

Half of the business rates collected by the council go to central government, 40pc to City Hall and 10pc to Norfolk County Council.

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