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To think sending bailiffs after desperate people is despicable

(87 Posts)
Catsinspring Fri 12-Apr-19 15:11:44

If someone can’t pay their council tax, threatening them with bailiff action is awful. People end up owning hundreds of pounds. I am horrified.

AlaskanOilBaron Fri 12-Apr-19 15:13:04

A system of borrowing/lending/credit can't exist without bailiffs. Not sure how that's despicable.

User457990033gYpovd7 Fri 12-Apr-19 15:15:54

Sadly though we all have to pay it. It has to be one of the priority payments along with rent or mortgage.

SoHotADragonRetired Fri 12-Apr-19 15:16:47

Never mind bailiffs, you can end up in prison for not paying your council tax. Council tax must be prioritised above all other bills/debts.

If you want a system where you can borrow at all there has to be enforcement of debt. Would you rather go back to the days of workhouses and debtors' prisons?

CanILeavenowplease Fri 12-Apr-19 15:17:21

Council Tax is neither a lending or borrowing situation. The problem with Council Tax is if people are seen to get away with non-payment, we’d all try it on. Shame they seem unable to deal with the non payment of Child maintenance in the same way.

HBStowe Fri 12-Apr-19 15:19:42

Of course it’s despicable. This country runs on the abject exploitation of workers. We have a minimum wage which isn’t enough to live on (and absolutely not enough to raise a family on) and we have the gig economy and zero hour contracts. People desperately try to scrape by, barely making ends meet. Then if you do borrow some money because of a disaster like a broken boiler or a car fault, or fall behind on your council tax, you get hounded at home by terrifying bailiffs threatening to take what you own and leave you even more destitute.

Why does our government allow this? Why doesn’t it respect work enough to insist that workers be fairly paid? Why does the government subsidise companies who pay a low wage with tax credits etc instead of passing legislation mandating companies to pay more fairly?

We don’t respect work in this country. We allow companies to pay the bare minimum to workers and then we despise the poorly paid for being poor because somehow we think it’s all their fault.

Catsinspring Fri 12-Apr-19 15:19:44

We have to pay it, but if someone can’t pay it, intimidating them is awful.

We live in hard times!

It’s not me, by the way.

Dana28 Fri 12-Apr-19 15:21:16

Alaskan she is talking about council tax not borrowing!

AlaskanOilBaron Fri 12-Apr-19 15:24:21

Council Tax is neither a lending or borrowing situation. The problem with Council Tax is if people are seen to get away with non-payment, we’d all try it on. Shame they seem unable to deal with the non payment of Child maintenance in the same way.

The moment that your council tax is in arrears, it is a question of money owed i.e. borrowing.

I agree about CM.

HBStowe you're getting different issues muddled up.

AlaskanOilBaron Fri 12-Apr-19 15:31:06

We have to pay it, but if someone can’t pay it, intimidating them is awful.

So if someone owed you money, and they couldn't pay it, for good reasons or bad, what would you do?

BlueSkiesLies Fri 12-Apr-19 15:32:28

Shame they seem unable to deal with the non payment of Child maintenance in the same way

amen to that

AlaskanOilBaron Fri 12-Apr-19 15:33:37

Shame they seem unable to deal with the non payment of Child maintenance in the same way

The biggest feminist issue of our time, IMO.

user1457017537 Fri 12-Apr-19 15:34:04

I agree with the poster and think bailiffs are deeply unpleasant people, who bully and intimidate. They should not have the power to remove goods from homes where there are young children.

LakieLady Fri 12-Apr-19 15:35:05

If councils didn't do their utmost to collect council tax that is owed, they would find themselves criticised by the district auditor, which no council wants.

And how would a council decide between cases of genuine hardship and those who just preferred to spend their council tax money on something else? I don't see how they could, frankly, and the people paying extra because the council wasn't collecting all the money owed would be quite justified in feeling aggrieved.

Save your criticism for the Cameron government, who abolished council tax benefit and left it up to councils to set up their own schemes for helping people in hardship. Prior to that, anyone on means tested benefits had their council tax reduced to zero.

Then they cut funding to councils, so they couldn't afford to fund council tax reductions. Some councils have generous schemes, some don't. Where I live, even the poorest have to pay 20% of their full entitlement, and we have very high council tax here (£1,920 for a band C property).

keepingbees Fri 12-Apr-19 15:39:24

Council tax is horrible in that it rises every year (well in our area it does!) well above he rate of inflation and any wage rises, and you have absolutely no option but to keep finding the extra money. Their is no leeway and no way out.

MichaelMorrissMam Fri 12-Apr-19 15:39:32

It is a bill to be paid. By the time enforcement agents are knocking at the door the bill had been ignored for months and months, sometimes years.

There will have been plenty of time to speak to the council, set up a payment plan, ask for emergency funding from the council to help paying council tax.

If enforcement agents turn up and what they are greeted with is a case where the client hadn't got a pot to piss in, it's referred back to the company as a welfare concern.

HBStowe Fri 12-Apr-19 15:43:10

HBStowe you're getting different issues muddled up.

No, I’m not. If you are in a low paid job, you are significantly more likely to struggle to pay your council tax. If work paid more fairly, fewer people would end up in arrears. It’s a very straightforward cause and effect.

AlaskanOilBaron Fri 12-Apr-19 15:46:12

If work paid more fairly, fewer people would end up in arrears.

And you'd need to send bailiffs.

But I'm still waiting for the OP to tell us how she'd manage non-paying customers.

Gingerkittykat Fri 12-Apr-19 15:46:49

In Scotland they stopped sheriffs officers doing warrant sales for council tax a long time ago. In theory they are still legal but in practice don't happen at all.

They can arrest your wages or benefits or take money directly from your bank account.

You can't be jailed for non payment of council tax here.

Bluntness100 Fri 12-Apr-19 15:51:12

It's money owed op. In some way they have to collect it. Otherwise no one would pay it. Everyone would say they can't afford it this month, or year.

Brilliantidiot Fri 12-Apr-19 15:51:55

There are other ways to enforce, but councils tend to go straight for bailiffs to try and intimidate you into paying more than you can afford.
An attachment of earnings order in theory is actually better for those on a lower wage or fluctuating income because only a % of what you earn can be taken. And that's lower than the bailiffs demand.
Then it's the intimidation and sometimes out right lying that comes from some bailiffs. I've been told by more than one that they'll be back in 24 hours with a locksmith if I don't pay what they demand, they'll arrest me and my child taken into care - and said the liability order gives them the power to do that. It doesn't, a liability order gives the council the power to chase the debt. Bailiffs that collect CT don't have powers to break in unless you first let them in (or they gain entry through a door or window peacefully) and they don't have powers of arrest.
The council will tell you that you have to deal with the bailiffs, the bailiffs demand sums of money you don't have and refuse to take anything lower make threats and you're left wondering what the fuck to do.
There's great advice on the citizens advice website.
Problem is people believe that the council and bailiffs act properly and fairly in cases where people genuinely don't have the money to pay, they don't. During a period of illness where I was being assessed for council tax benefits, and had no income at all because my employer screwed up SSP, I was told by the council to just pay what the bailiffs told me and benefits would be deducted from the following years council tax, I demonstrated no income, they suggested a pay day loan or loan shark. Very responsible reaction to a genuine non payment.

The whole CT system stinks, miss a payment and the whole years bill becomes due, to be paid in 7 days, you can find yourself facing bailiffs for CT for the year ahead - what business can do that? British gas can't charge you for the year ahead for services you haven't yet used and take you to court. You could move or drop dead between now and the end of the financial year!

Cjt110 Fri 12-Apr-19 15:54:39

Cuncil tax is one of the first bills that should be prioritised. Above that of "luxuries" that are taken as a given today like sky tv, internet or things like tobacco. You can survive without those.

At least if bailiffs are sent in, they get payment, or a payment plan in place. Surely at that point, there have been numerous reminders and red letters etc where the person could have at least tried to sort their situation

isseywithcats Fri 12-Apr-19 15:57:52

its one of those bills that everyone has to pay we live up north so ours is around £1200 a year and for that we get our bins emptied twice a month, we dont have children at school, no one in council care , dont call the police and when our motorbike got nicked all we got was a crime report number, dont claim benefits so all we get is bins emptied twice a month but we pay it and dont moan because it has to be paid, but yes i have been on very low wages as a single person and even though i had like £15 a week left after bills to feed myself rent and council tax were always paid first before anything else

Chloemol Fri 12-Apr-19 15:59:57

They don’t pay the council tax but are happy to take the services everyone else has to pay for, school transport, meals , schools themselves in some places, subsidised bus service, pavements to walk on etc etc. All councils have ways of helping those who can’t pay..
Just talk to them. Head in the sand is what gets the bailiffs calling, and that’s after lots of letters and court cases which would be notified. So actually I have little sympathy. They had plenty of chances to sort it

Samcro Fri 12-Apr-19 16:02:25

years ago I had the bailiffs come round, they were really nice and we ended up just paying the money owed weekly. they were far from intimidating.

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