Killed By My Debt: Harlow Council explain their relationship with Newlyns
News / Mon 30th Jul 2018 pm31 01:14pm
A FEW weeks ago, BBC transmitted a one hour film called ‘Killed By My Debt”. It told the truth story of the tragic death of Jerome Rogers
When Jerome Rogers got two traffic fines, he couldn’t pay them quickly. Or at all. He wasn’t earning enough as a self-employed courier, delivering blood to hospitals on his motorbike. His income was irregular, often pitiful, once just £18 a week take home, after everything – petrol, insurance, £24 a week to rent the equipment he needed to do the job from the courier company – was deducted.
The quick-pay option expired and the fines escalated: to £390, then almost £800, finally to £1,019. A bailiff came round and eventually clamped Jerome’s bike, his means of making a living. Unable to pay, unable to make money, he was trapped in debt and despair. On 7 March, 2016, aged 20, Rogers killed himself.
The bailiffs were Newlyns, who on this occasion were contracted by Camden Council.
Harlow Council use Newlyns. Until recently there was a glowing reference from Harlow Council on the Newlyns website. It appears to have disappeared.
We asked Harlow Council if they still have total confidence in Newlyns.
A spokesperson said: “Harlow Council uses the services of Newlyn’s PLC as enforcement agents for the recovery of unpaid council tax and non-domestic rates but only when all other recovery options have been explored and only as a last resort.
“We understand that a number of local residents and businesses struggle with payments for regrettable and legitimate reasons and we work hard to assist those who are genuinely unable to meet these obligations before resorting to enforcement. 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 also fortunate that there is a range of local free advice services available to residents and we actively signpost their use.
However, there is always a small number of situations where we are unable to reach satisfactory arrangements and in these cases we resort to enforcement.
“Newlyns has a dedicated vulnerable persons team and their policies which cover vulnerability can be viewed on their website. Newlyn is a full member of The Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA) and provides its services in strict observance of its policies in addition to following the Office of Fair Trading Code and the model codes of both the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation (IRRV) and the Ministry of Justice. The application of these practices and standards were required when the Council decided to use the company’s services.
“In the previous 12 month period we have not received any complaints nor had any concerns raised in respect of the practices employed by Newlyn’s or the conduct of its enforcement agents.
“If any resident or business is struggling to pay a Council bill they should contact us immediately so we can help them”.
In my experience ,Newlyns can be cruel, nasty and heartless. That's probably why Harlow Council's Council Tax Department use them. That fits in with the agenda of the manager of that department, who has the same traits!
This is what really annoys me about the majority of the British organizations and authorities including Harlow council. The only seem to see that people once were going through bad times financially and now good times but they don't seem to understand that some people also go through good times and then bad times financially too, but then what do we expect from a Labour administrated council that don't even take the needs of local residents into consideration, all they think.of is feeding their pockets.
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