Bailiffs sent to more than 6,000 borough homes by Bexley Council in last year
PUBLISHED: 16:30 23 August 2013
More than 6,000 debts were referred to bailiffs by Bexley Council in the last year.
The figure, 6,255, makes up 6.51 per cent of properties in the borough and local authorities most commonly refer debts to bailiffs for council tax arrears and parking fines.
In addition 406 business debts were referred to bailiffs, making up 7.47 per cent of businesses in the borough.
The figures, released by the Money Advice Trust after submitting Freedom of Information requests to local authorities and the organisation has called on them to be more responsible in their debt collection.
Chief executive Joanna Elson said: “These figures make clear that something has to change. It is not economically or socially responsible for local authorities to continue to use bailiffs so frequently. Our experience through National Debtline shows us first-hand how bailiffs can deepen debt problems, rather than solve them.
“Local authorities seem to be assuming that anyone not paying debts is a ‘won’t pay’, rather than a ‘can’t pay’. In today’s economy, with real incomes having fallen consistently for many years, more and more people are falling into the ‘can’t pay’ bracket – sending the bailiffs in to collect these debts can be very destructive, both financially and psychologically.”