NEW figures show Kirklees cancelled far more council tax debt than any other West Yorkshire authority.

In 2006/07 the council wrote off £2.75m of unpaid tax – the eighth-worst figure in England.

Elsewhere in West Yorkshire, Leeds wrote off £1.65m, Calderdale £637,000, Bradford £342,000 and Wakefield £232,000.

But a Kirklees spokeswoman said the 2006/07 figure was a one-off.

She said: “We undertook a specific house-keeping exercise to write off debt that was unlikely to be repaid. This allowed our officers to focus on debt that we had a better chance of collecting.”

The spokeswoman added that Kirklees expected a much-improved figure for 2007/08.

She said: “We are still finalising our accounts but we estimate that the net amount written off will be around £1.1m. To put this figure into context, we will have collected more than £131m in council tax through the year.”

The spokeswoman believes Kirklees was doing a good job collecting council tax.

She said: “In the last two years we have collected the highest percentage of council tax in West Yorkshire.

“We collect around 99% of the total council tax charged in Kirklees. I'm sure many private businesses would be pleased to achieve such a high collection rate of debt.

“We want to reassure the taxpayer that we use every recovery tool available to us to collect the maximum amount of council tax possible, and we do not write off debt until all recovery options have been exhausted.”

The 354 English councils cancelled nearly £134m of debt in 2006/07.

Only Manchester, Salford, Slough and four London boroughs wrote off more than Kirklees.