Thursday, November 21, 2019
Home Society Council tax debt collection tactics pushing people further into the red

Council tax debt collection tactics pushing people further into the red

Citizens Advice report highlights how some councils add extra charges to a debt, send in bailiffs and take court action before trying to arrange repayment plans.

Aggressive tactics used by some local authorities in collecting council tax debt is pushing struggling families even further into the red, a damning new report from Citizens Advice reveals.

The report highlights how some councils in England add extra charges, deploy bailiffs and pursue legal action before attempting to arrange manageable repayment plans with debtors.

Citizens Advice surveyed more than 1,000 people in England, with more than half (54%) saying the tactics used by councils had made it more difficult to pay council tax debt.

A shocking 71% reported extra charges being added to the debt and 48% had been visited by bailiffs. Only 30% were offered an affordable way to repay monies owed.

Worryingly, nearly half of those surveyed (46%) said councils had stopped allowing them to pay in monthly installments and were instead told to pay any remaining debt in full.

Citizens Advice highlights the experience of one person whose council tax debt of just £27 mushroomed to a whopping £417 after the council added court and bailiff costs.

The charity’s research also found that 65% of those surveyed were in work, 56% had been forced to cut back on food and heating and 26% had even sold or pawned personal belongings to help clear their debt.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Some councils are too quick to crackdown on people falling behind on council tax.

“Of course it’s right people should repay their council tax – but calling in bailiffs, adding on extra charges or forcing someone to pay the rest of the year’s council tax bill in one lump sum can make the situation worse for everyone.

“Some councils have developed much fairer approaches to collecting debt and as a result get money back much faster.

“Even simple steps, like improving communication and offering a realistic repayment plan, can ease the strain on debtors and ensure councils get what they’re owed.

“It is really important councils review their debt collection practices to make sure they are helping people to overcome their debt problems rather than making their financial problems worse. ”

Citizens advice is also calling on councils to promote the availability of hardship funds and encourage those with council tax debt to seek professional debt advice.

Follow Us


Trending Now

A homeless person dies every 19 hours in austerity Britain

Services are failing to protect homelessness people, say campaigners.

UK pensioners ‘suffering the worst poverty rate in western Europe’

Tories warned against further rises to the state pension age.

Benefit payment dates over Christmas and New Year 2019-20

You may receive benefit payments early over Christmas and New Year. Check here to see if this applies to you and your family.

Benefit claimants told to fork out £1400 to record disability assessments

Disabled people told to pay for expensive specialist equipment if they want benefit assessments to be recorded.

‘Pensionless Pensioner’ Brands UK Government Most Brutal ‘Regime’ In Living Memory

Woman stripped of her right to state pension says the UK Government doesn't care whether vulnerable people live or die.

More News

Labour declares ‘war on poverty’ and pledges to scrap Tory welfare reforms

Tory austerity has entrenched poverty and destitution across Britain, say Labour.

Disabled man found dead at Jobcentre within months of being declared ‘fit for work’ by the DWP

Campaigners have called for benefit assessments to be suspended after the man's sudden death.

800,000 more children from working households pushed into poverty since 2010

Labour says the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats "should hang their heads in shame".

Lib Dems pledge to scrap the benefit cap and ‘cruel’ two-child limit

Lib Dems pledge to invest £6bn a year to "strengthen the welfare system", despite endorsing many of the cuts that have weakened it.

Shock at 160% rise in child suicides in Scotland

Scottish Government admits that the rising suicide rate is "heartbreaking".

Follow Us


More Articles Like This