Dublin's most fashionable area of the south city owes the most in rates arrears, with the total outstanding figure for the whole city now standing at nearly €40m according to latest figures.

Pembroke/South Dock, which includes Temple Bar, Grafton Street and Leeson Street, accounts for one third of all rates arrears being pursued by Dublin City Council.

The North City is next on 26%, while the lowest is Ballymun, on 4%.

The latest report on rates arrears shows that retail and office businesses account for nearly 60% of the total.

A report by Fintan Moran, head of the council's Management Accounting Department, says the total arrears have been reduced from just over €50m last year to under €40m as of last month.

The report states that over €17m in arrears had to be written off last year because there was no prospect of recovery.

Another €16m was written off due to appeals and vacancy refunds.

The report shows that around one third of all rate-paying businesses are in arrears with 61% facing an annual rates bill of less than €5,000.

"The council is tasked with performing an extremely delicate balancing act in ensuring that local businesses pay rates on time and being conscious of their role in supporting the business community through periods of economic pressure" stated Mr Moran.

In all the council collected €314m from city businesses last year.

Meanwhile, a separate report shows that a surcharge payable by 2,500 businesses in the core city centre under the Business Improvement District scheme totalled €2.3 million with arrears of 23% last year.

The BIDs scheme funds the DublinTown organisation which carries out street improvements and lobbies on behalf of city businesses.