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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucester City Council set to write off more than £100,000 in unpaid Debenhams business rates

Gloucester City Council is set to write off in excess of £100,000 in unpaid business rates owed by department store giants Debenhams.

At a Cabinet meeting tonight, members will be asked to write off part of the £276,831.85 owed by the struggling chain to the city council, Gloucestershire County Council and central government.

Debenhams occupy one of the prime shopping positions in Gloucester, with a frontage on to King's Square, The Oxbode and Northgate Street.

The site is registered to Debenhams Properties Ltd and documents released ahead of tonight's meeting show that in excess of half-a-million has been charged to the firm since April 1, 2019.

In the last financial year, £56.3million was raised by way of business rates for city premises, a rise of around £800,000 in the previous year. The Debenhams amount equates of £536,313.28 to less than one per cent.

Debenhams entered into a Company Voluntary Agreement in order to try and restructure its finances in May last year and the group have been closing stores across the UK.

The council documents say "that payments under this CVA are significantly reduced, please consider writing off residual debt which remains AFTER the minimum payments are received."

They also state: "the council pursue all opportunities to collect any outstanding debt prior to recommending write-off."

The report by the council's chief financial officer Jon Topping recommends that the debt be written off, with the decision having to be made by cabinet as per the council's own rules.

The decision will be made by the city council's cabinet at their meeting, which starts at 6pm tonight.

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