Almost 5,500 cases a day passed to bailiffs

Tony Gosling tony at
Thu Apr 7 09:13:27 BST 2011

btw - ONLY fines which have been sanctioned by a 
magistrate's court are legally enforcable
so many of these council and bailiff's actions 
rely on alleged debtors ignorance of the law or 
lack of access to a lawyer/legal advice

Councils call bailiffs in 2m times

(UKPA) – Wed 6th April 2011

Bailiffs are called in to collect unpaid council 
taxes and parking fines in more than two million 
cases a year across the country and more than 
100,000 in Newham, campaigners have said.

Almost 5,500 cases a day are passed to debt 
recovery agencies by local councils in England, 
Scotland and Wales, a report showed.

Newham Council called in debt collectors in 
131,542 cases, according to statistics.

The figures, released to the civil liberties 
campaign group Big Brother Watch under the 
Freedom of Information Act, come after concerns 
that bailiffs harass or intimidate those who owe 
money, charge excessive fees and threaten debtors with imprisonment.

Daniel Hamilton, director of Big Brother Watch, 
said: "The coalition Government must act now to 
end the culture of bully-boy debt collection 
which has taken hold in town halls across the country.

"Sending in bailiffs to recover debts should 
always be the absolute last resort. The fact 
local councils have passed more than six million 
cases to bailiffs for matters as trivial as the 
late payment of council taxes and parking fines is truly shocking."

Overall, the 320 local authorities who responded 
to the survey passed 4,527,917 cases to 
third-party debt recovery agencies for the 
non-payment of council tax, and 1,411,086 cases 
for the non-payment of fines for parking 
infringements, between 2007/08 and 2009/10.

Local Government and Housing Minister Grant 
Shapps said: "The coalition Government will rein 
in the aggressive use of bailiffs, and defend 
people's rights and liberties against home 
invasion. In addition, we will not be introducing 
the last Government's plans to allow bailiffs to 
force entry into homes to collect civil debts."

A Newham Council spokesman said: "We recognise 
that sometimes people may have difficulty paying 
their council tax, which is why we offer help 
when they contact us, such as agreeing payments 
within their means. Residents are contacted on 
numerous occasions before starting legal proceedings.

"Bailiffs are only ever used as a last resort and 
once an order has been obtained from the 
magistrates' court. Bailiffs are required to act 
within the law and anyone who feels they have 
acted improperly should contact the bailiff or 
the council to raise their concerns."
+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic 
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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