CABINET members at Darlington Borough Council have agreed to write-off debts of almost £150,000 owed to the authority.

Councillors approved the write-off at a cabinet meeting this week on the recommendation of a report prepared by efficiency and resources portfolio holder Cllr Stephen Harker.

The report stated that money was owed to several council departments, including housing, schools and neighbourhood services and resources.

Of the 99 debts written off, 93 were more than a year old so the loss had been budgeted for by the council when preparing its medium term financial plan.

The majority of the debts - 81 with a combined value of £123,969 - were written off after the council had exhausted all the recovery procedures available.

Other reasons included bankruptcy, death with no estate left behind and the debtor absconding.

The £149.939 write-off represents 0.7per cent of debts raised and Cllr Harker said: “Although the amounts are considerable, I would not dispute that, the percentages being written off are very, very small in each case.”

Council leader Bill Dixon added: “If the banks had managed to stay within these parameters we would not be in the situation we are in now.”