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Harlow Council send in the bailiffs over 2,000 times last year

News / Tue 21st Nov 2017 at 02:06pm

Bailiffs

HARLOW Council sent in the bailiffs over 2,000 times last year.

The figures have just been released from a Freedom of Information Act request by the Money Advice Trust (MAT) as part of their “Stop The Knock” campaign.

In 2016/17, Harlow Council instructed bailiffs to collect debts from individuals and businesses on 2,254 occasions. This may seem a lot but infact it is a decrease of 48% since 2014/15.

MAT, which runs National Debtline, said more could be done for the vulnerable in debt.

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said: “The growing use of bailiffs to collect debts by many local authorities is deeply troubling.

“Councils are under enormous financial pressure, and they of course need to recover what they are owed in order to fund vital services. However, many councils are far too quick to turn to bailiff action.”

She said that, in doing so, people could be pushed even further into debt.

“Bailiff action should only ever be used as a last resort, and can be avoided by early intervention,” she added.

Some 50 councils had signed up to a protocol aimed at preventing those at risk from getting behind on key payments.

The Trust wanted more councils to sign up to an official policy on how to treat vulnerable residents, and to exempt the most vulnerable from bailiff action completely.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils, said people facing difficulties should contact their local authority to discuss options such as repayment plans.

Claire Kober, who chairs the LGA’s resources board, said: “No council wants to ask people on the lowest incomes to pay more, but councils have a duty to their residents to collect taxes – these fund crucial services, such as caring for the elderly, protecting vulnerable children, keeping roads maintained and collecting bins.

“With councils facing a £5.8bn funding shortfall by 2020, it is essential that these funds are collected so these vital services can be protected.”

She said that councils took steps, where possible, to ensure people in financial difficulty were supported.

We asked Harlow Council (on Thursday) to comment on the figures but they have failed (so far) to provide a response.

Examples of the other councils

In 2016/17, Colchester Borough Council instructed bailiffs to collect debts from individuals and businesses on 15,048 occasions – an increase of 67% since 2014/15.

In 2016/17, Chelmsford City Council instructed bailiffs to collect debts from individuals and businesses on 4,606 occasions – an increase of 71% since 2014/15.

In 2016/17, London Borough of Havering instructed bailiffs to collect debts from individuals and businesses on 1,761 occasions.

In 2016/17, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham instructed bailiffs to collect debts from individuals and businesses on 16,281 occasions – a decrease of 52% since 2014/15.

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1 Comment for Harlow Council send in the bailiffs over 2,000 times last year:

MickyB77
2017-11-23 07:25:11

Caring sharing labour ! Trust them at your peril.

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