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Harlow councillor defends use of bailiffs

News / Mon 27th Nov 2017 am30 03:00am

THE HARLOW Labour councillor in charge of finance has set the record straight on why the council has used bailiffs over 2,000 times this year.

Councillor Mike Danvers, Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: “Overall our use of enforcement agents has reduced in recent years. We have a duty to protect the public purse and we will only instruct enforcement agents to collect a debt as a last resort.

Bills like Council Tax and Business Rates go towards funding the police, the fire service and many different Council services. For every debt not collected there is cost to taxpayers and this ultimately affects the funding of public services, which has already been impacted significantly as a result of ongoing Government cuts.

However, we know that many local residents and businesses continue to struggle. We help and assist those who genuinely cannot pay as far as we can. This includes looking at revised payment plans, making discretionary payments, providing benefit advice and helping people find free money and debt advice. In Harlow we are fortunate that there are a range of local free advice services available to help people who need it. If any resident or business is struggling to pay a Council bill they should contact us immediately so we can help them.”

Note: Harlow Council also collects Council Tax on behalf of Essex County Council, Essex Fire & Rescue and the Essex Crime & Police Commissioner.

Figures from Freedom of Information requests:

The number of residential properties in Harlow Council’s area in 2016/17 was 37,131
The number of business properties in Harlow Council’s area in 2016/17 was 2,409

The number of residential properties in Harlow Council’s area in 2014/15 was 36,154
The number of business properties in Harlow Council’s area in 2014/15 was 2,318

The number of times enforcement agents instructed to collect debts in 2016/17:

Council tax 1999
Housing Benefit overpayments 150
Business Rates 104
Commercial rents 1

The number of times enforcement agents instructed to collect debts in 2014/15:

Council Tax 4144
Business Rates 169

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2 Comments for Harlow councillor defends use of bailiffs:

MickyB77
2017-11-27 07:06:20

Free loaders make me very angry.Pensioners get taxed on state pensions, and many, don't receive much in the way of benefits, yet, they still pay their way. Trouble with a lot of people is the must have syndrome. Mobile phones, THE big TV, and the 'gotta look good',brigade. Yes, send in the bailiffs by all means and get back the money we're owed.

staff.reporter.ate.my.hamster
2017-11-28 17:52:58

Im glad free loaders make people so angry. Perhaps we should start going after all those BILLIONS stashed in Jersey, Guernsey and the Virgin Islands? Maybe we can chase those people a little harder before we send the flunkies after poor people?

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