Ipswich Unemployed Action.

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Archive for the ‘Council Tax’ Category

Rent Arrears Swell with Universal Credit.

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Image result for universal credit rent arrears

Universal Credit: More and More Demands…

One of the ideas behind government welfare ‘reforms’ is to make people more “responsible”.

We now have to pay a percentage of our Council Tax, because that makes us “responsible”, or to put it more simply, it is thought to make us consider how Councils allocate money. In this case a right-wing idea, that poor people voting over public spending is a bad idea because we will use our power to tax our betters, is behind this. As ‘taxpayers’ ourselves we will think twice about forking out for the elderly, and public services more widely and, they hope, vote Tory to keep Council Budgets in order. Bad councils, that is Labour ones, will suffer electoral reverses if they do not follow the penny pinching and contracting out ways of the Conservative crooks who still run many councils.

The fact that this scheme costs money to collect, that poor people fall into arrears, and that not a single penny has gone to compensate benefit claimants for what is in reality a hefty cut in our income, is ignored.

Universal Credit operates with another kind of enforced “responsibility”.

People pay their rent themselves, rather than having it deducted and sent to the properties’ owners.

Common sense would have told the designers of this system that far from ‘teaching people how to budget’ it would be the occasion for many to fall into arrears.

And so it has come to pass…..

Almost 90 per cent of tenants in receipt of Universal Credit are in rent arrears Daily Record.

South Lanarkshire Council confirmed this week that 633, 87 per cent, of UC tenants owe £525,000.

Almost 90 per cent of council tenants in receipt of the controversial Universal Credit (UC) benefit are in rent arrears totalling £525,000.

South Lanarkshire Council confirmed this week that 633, 87 per cent, of UC tenants are struggling to pay for housing.

The local authority said it was doing everything possible to assist people to repay the debt and avoid losing their home, as Gerard Killen MP called on the government to halt the full roll out of the benefit.

Currently offered to a limited number of people, UC replaces six of the main means tested benefits including housing benefit and sees claimants receive all of their benefits in one single payment monthly in arrears.

It means tenants are, for the first time, responsible for paying their rent as opposed to their housing benefit being paid direct to their landlord.

The Residential Landlords Association quickly got a whiff of this and has set the following up,

In July Councils were already flagging up their concern.

Councils losing £6.7m in Universal Credit arrears

The saga of Universal credit looks far from over.

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

August 18, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Universal Credit: Twelve Week Wait for Any Payment.

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Talking to somebody in the library I learnt that some people round here are already on Universal Credit (and the horrors of ‘Job Search’ at the notorious SEETEC).

Writing posts about the failings of Universal Credit has become a duty.

But not a hard one since a story emerges every couple of days.

This is the latest (Daily Mirror)

People who move onto the Tories’ flagship welfare scheme are waiting nearly three months for payments to roll in – putting them at risk of eviction, a town hall boss has said.

The stark warning came tonight from Croydon Council in south London, a key pilot area for the “full digital service” of Universal Credit.

The system rolls six benefits including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit and Child Tax Credit into one payment and is slowly being phased in across the UK after several delays.

But analysts have claimed millions will face overall cuts due to changes in “work allowances” under the new system.

Mark Fowler, Croydon Council’s director of welfare, said some single people under 35 had their payments cut from £155 a week to just £72 in the new scheme.

He told MPs on the Commons Work and Pensions Committee: “We have seen in Croydon, on average, it’s about 12 weeks before any form of payment is awarded, which is creating considerable pressures as you can understand.

“Then even when this customer cohort are awarded money, that’s still a difference [between] £72 [and] £155 a week.

“So that’s an immediate pressure and immediate potential for eviction as well.”

MPs pointed out the time lag was so long that landlords could begin evictions for unpaid rent.

Mr Fowler agreed, adding: “You have got people moving from one system to another. Most people pay their rent in advance, not in arrears.

“What we have also found is people in emergency accommodation – so people who are incredibly vulnerable, fleeing domestic violence, mental health issues, single parents, English isn’t their first language – are particularly hit by the approach to Universal Credit.”

He said the council had a duty to move some people out of emergency housing within six weeks – but benefit payments only start when they’ve been in place for six weeks.

Nick Atkin, chief executive of the Halton Housing Trust, urged the rollout to be slowed down and blamed poor communication within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

He said Universal Credit claimants had just 9% of all Halton’s tenancies but 37% of all its arrears.

And they were four times as likely to have been served an eviction notice compared to other claimants.

He added: “There’s an increased risk for those people of losing their homes.”

Being fair chaps the Mirror then presents “alternative facts” from the DWP’s Macedonian News Factory.

 A DWP spokesman said: “The best way to help people pay their rent is to help them into work, and under Universal Credit, people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system.

“Universal Credit is designed to mirror the world of work by giving people responsibility over their lives, and paying Housing Benefit directly to claimants is an important part of this process.

“Budgeting advice, direct rent payments to landlords and benefit advances can be provided for those who need them.”

Written by Andrew Coates

January 25, 2017 at 12:00 pm

I, Daniel Blake in Review: Will it Help Change Anything?

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As a measure of I, Daniel Blake’s impact, this weekend the  French daily, Le Monde, devoted a whole page to an interview with the sociologist of poverty Nicolas Duvoux. about Ken Loach’s film.

He noted just how much the French system had become like the nightmare described in the picture (it might help that the French word for “sanction” is, er, la sanction).

At the end the interviewer asked if Loach’s call for a debate on these system, and the misery caused by miserly social security, could take place in France.

The answer was that Duvoux doubted it: people had become blinded to the existence of poverty. They blame the poor for being poor.

UNITE the union says,

We are all Daniel Blake

Our hope is that this film will spark a national debate and build public support for a fairer social security system for people in and out of work – just like Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home shifted the political agenda on housing in this country in the 1960s.

The scary thing is that what happens to Daniel could happen to anyone of us. How would you cope with being made redundant? Or falling ill? How long would your savings last? The British welfare state has helped millions of people get back on their feet in times of need – a safety net for those that fall on hard times – to need it isn’t a moral failing #WeAreAllDanielBlake.

We note that the Evening Standard’s review is headed, “Ken Loach’s grim portrait of Britain tells us that state bureaucracy is a horror and that welfare rules humiliate claimants, but nothing that we didn’t know already, says David Sexton.”

Sexton peppers his article with further sneers,

Big-hearted Dan, forgetting his own troubles, takes them in hand, fixing their cistern, leaving them some money for the electric, putting up one of his mobiles, getting little Dylan talking. And he takes Katie to the local food bank, where the poor girl is so hungry she breaks down and, while scooping things off the shelves, opens a tin, possibly of spaghetti rings, there and then and begins eating it with her hands. Worse, when she finds the food bank doesn’t do sanitary towels, she shoplifts some — and the store’s security guard spots her as ripe for going on the game, a further neo-capitalist degradation. 

And,

Loach, 80 now, is such an undeviating and old-fashioned Marxist that it has been fascinating to observe the rapprochement between his own special Left purity, disregarding all contradictory history, and Jeremy Corbyn’s, ditto.

And lo! Corbyn went along to the premiere this very week, posing alongside Loach in front of boards saying “Deaths due to sanctions and benefit cuts RIP”, and kneeling to add his own graffiti to that of Daniel Blake. Next day, he posted on Facebook: “If there’s one thing you do this year, go and see I, Daniel Blake. I went to see it last night and it’s one of the most moving films I’ve seen.” Historically inevitable, really.

Yet, by contrast the Daily Telegraph has a sensitive and intelligent review,  Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake is a quietly fearsome piece of drama.

At the age of 80, Loach is still calling things as he sees them – and a late speech delivered by a homeless ‘wise fool’ in front of a Jobcentre Plus, which takes in everything from food banks and the bedroom tax to “that baldy twat Iain Duncan Whatshisface”, lays out his manifesto with an appealing belligerence. This film treads fearsomely complex, splintery terrain – and the more complex it acknowledges it to be, the better.

Even the Sun comments,

While many people shudder at the thought of his gritty, sometimes sentimentalised portraits of working-class life, they often forget how funny the films can be.

There are jokes – Loach often casts comedians, including John Bishop and now Dave Johns – and uses laughter to lighten the drama.

UNITE, to continue, says,

1. Please go and see this film – and tell your friends to see it too, on general release on 21 October.

2. Share your story – if you’ve ever been sanctioned or affected by any of the issues in I,Daniel Blake then we want to hear from you. Please share your story in the form below.

3.Tell a Tory to see this film – every single MP needs to see this film, (particularly the Tories!). Help them understand that our benefits’ system isn’t working. Email and tweet yours now, enter your postcode below to get started.

4. Unite Community has been campaigning against benefit sanctions right from the start -to find out more about the campaign visit the NoSanctions page.

5. Spread the message on social media- everybody needs to see this film. Join the conversation on the I, Daniel Blake Facebook and Twitter pages tagging #WeareallDanielBlake

Apart from the numerous clips I have not yet seen I, Daniel Blake, for reasons which are pretty obvious.

Like lots of us lot I have seen too much of Daniel Blake in real life. 

But I hope from the depths of my guts that the film helps change things.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 24, 2016 at 9:40 am

Labour to End ‘fit for Work’ tests and ‘punitive’ Benefit Sanctions Regime. Now Labour Should Adopt the ‘Welfare Charter’.

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Image result for welfare charter TUC unemployed

Labour Should Now Adopt the Welfare Charter.

Labour pledge to scrap ‘discredited’ fit for work tests and ‘punitive’ benefit sanctions

Welfare Weekly.

Labour Conference: Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Debbie Abrahams MP, also said being on social security shouldn’t mean having to live in poverty.

“I want to change the culture of our social security system and how the public see it. I believe that, like the NHS, it is based on principles of inclusion, support and security for all, assuring us of our dignity and the basics of life were we to fall on hard times or become incapacitated, giving us a hand up, not a hand out.

“Work should always pay more than being on social security, but being in work shouldn’t mean living in poverty and neither should being on social security.

“The Labour Party has already pledged to get rid of the discriminatory and unfair Bedroom Tax. But I want to go further.

“I want to scrap the discredited Work Capability Assessment and replace it with a system based on personalised, holistic support, one that provides each individual with a tailored plan, building on their strengths and addressing barriers, whether skills, health, care, transport, or housing-related.

“This Government’s punitive sanctions system must go too, so Job Centre Plus and employment support providers’ performance will not just be assessed on how many people they get off their books.

“I want to see disabled people better supported into and at work. We will halve the Disability Employment Gap – and when we say it we mean it. And we will tackle other labour market inequalities too.

“I believe in a fair and just Britain, where everyone can get on and no-one is left behind.

Last year Abrahams said this,

Benefits Sanctions – Need for a full independent review

The Work and Pensions Committee, of which I am a member, has today published our report into benefit sanctions.  I have been asking the Government to hold an independent review into sanctions policy for nearly two years and after they refused, I persuaded colleagues on the Select Committee to instigate our own Inquiry.

Our report calls for a full independent review to be established in the new Parliament, to investigate whether benefit sanctions are being applied appropriately, fairly and proportionately, across the Jobcentre Plus network.  Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Rachel Reeves, has today stated that Labour accept in full all the Committee’s recommendations.

In the report we have reiterated our recommendation for a full review, originally made in January 2014 but rejected by the Government, in the light of new evidence which raises concerns about the approach being adopted in a number of individual Jobcentres, and more broadly, including concerns about whether targets for sanctions exist.

The report calls for the independent review also to examine the legislative framework for benefit sanctions policy, to ensure that the basis for sanctioning is well-defined, and that safeguards to protect the vulnerable are clearly set out.

Debate in the House of Commons on the welfare and Reform and Work Bill (Third Reading. October 28th).

Debbie Abrahams, “New clause 4 requires that the Government undertake a full independent review of their sanctions regime by 31 March 2016. It is with considerable regret that, after the Work and Pensions Committee’s report earlier this year, which also recommended an independent review of benefit conditionality and sanctions, the Government have failed to recognise the real concerns about their new sanctions regime, either in response to what was said in the Bill Committee or to that report.

I have been campaigning for an independent review of sanctions for nearly two years, and in that time constituents have come to me with their stories about how they have been sanctioned. One constituent was told while he was undergoing the work capability assessment that he was having a heart attack and should go to hospital, yet two weeks later he received a letter to say that he had been sanctioned. People up and down the country have also got in touch with their stories of how they have been sanctioned, for example, for being a few minutes late for an appointment with an adviser or work coach. Increasingly, people are being sanctioned unreasonably, for example, because they had attended their mother’s funeral, been hospitalised or gone to a job interview—this is absurd.

There was another category of reasons for being sanctioned. I still have the email from a constituent who had received a letter saying he had been sanctioned for non-attendance at a meeting with his adviser at the jobcentre, even though he had evidence that he had been there. The penny dropped when another constituent, who had worked in jobcentres across Greater Manchester for 20 years, came to me to tell me that as part of the new sanctions regime introduced at the end of 2012, the DWP had targets for sanctions. As he described it, claimants were being deliberately set up to fail, whether they had done anything wrong or not.

The Work and Pensions Committee also became concerned while conducting an inquiry in 2013 on “The role of Jobcentre Plus in the reformed welfare system”. At that stage, it recommended the following:

“DWP should launch a second, broader, independent review of conditionality and sanctions, to include investigation of whether the process is being applied appropriately, fairly, proportionately and in accordance with the rules, across the Jobcentre network.””

September the 2nd 2016. Debbie Abrahams.

GOVERNMENT deceit over its campaign to drive people into low-paid work by cutting benefits was exposed yesterday after the Tories crowed over the number of its victims.

Figures from the government’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that the number of “workless” households has fallen by 189,000 from last year, still leaving 3.1 million households where no-one is employed.

Government ministers hailed the findings which they attributed to their benefit-slashing policies.

Employment Minister Damian Hinds said: “Welfare reforms like the benefit cap and universal credit are giving people clear incentives to move off benefits and into work so they can provide a brighter future for themselves and their families.”

But shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams MP said the figures actually expose the government’s deceit.

“By trying to shift the focus away from income to workless households, the Tories are claiming success on an issue that the ONS report shows has been declining since Labour took office in 1997,” she said.

Ms Abrahams added: “There are currently nearly seven million working families living in poverty, including 2.5 million children.

“If the government is serious about social reform, they should stop patting themselves on the back and start tackling the problems of low pay, insecurity and a lack of progression at the bottom end of the labour market.”

The Resolution Foundation, which works to improve living standards, said in a report in October that one in five British employees — or 5.5 million individuals — are low paid, and “extreme low pay” affected 2 per cent of employees.

 We say: Labour should now adopt the ‘Welfare Charter’.

These are the charter’s key points:

  1. A political commitment to full employment achieved with decent jobs. People are entitled to decent, stable and secure jobs that provide regular, guaranteed hours that allows them to also meet any caring responsibilities; not zero-hours contracts in precarious jobs.
  2. A wage you can live on for all and a social security system that works to end poverty. We need a National Living Wage that people can live on, not just survive on, that applies to all.
  3. No work conscription – keep volunteering voluntary. Forcing people to work for free on pain of losing benefits is simply providing free labour to organisations that should be paying workers proper wages.
  4. Representation for unemployed workers. Everyone should have access to an advocate to help them navigate the social security system and appeal adverse decisions.
  5. Appoint an ombudsman for claimants. A claimants ombudsman should be appointed to arbitrate on unresolved complaints, to ensure claimants are treated with respect and dignity.
  6. Equality in the labour market and workplace; equality in access to benefits. We need a labour market where structural inequalities are overturned and a benefit system that is accessible to people.
  7. An end to the sanctions regime and current work capability assessment – full maintenance for the unemployed and underemployed. We need a non-means tested, non-discriminatory benefit payable to all, with housing costs met. This must be allied with the wide provision of low-cost housing.
  8. State provision of high quality information, advice and guidance on employment, training and careers. There must be a supportive and independent careers service, not linked to conditionality or benefits, offering face-to-face advice.

More here.

 We add: End the unjust  Claimant ‘contribution’ to the Council Tax and Restore Full benefits.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 27, 2016 at 3:23 pm

More on Council Tax: 360,000 families afflicted by council tax poverty trap.

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In the Post more and more. 

Following, no doubt, our lead (see previous post)  this is in today’s Observer.

360,000 families afflicted by council tax poverty trap

Previously exempt households in arrears crisis as benefits are cut; while Liverpool city council is owed £10m in council tax.

Hundreds of thousands of the poorest households in England are having their benefits cut every week because they are unable to pay their council tax bill, the Observer can reveal.

Families are stacking up such arrears, spanning years in some cases, that they are having their benefits slashed, which is driving them further into poverty.

Until 2013, those on small or no incomes had some protection from paying the full tax under a national support scheme. Since then, councils in England have had to administer their own, locally devised schemes, with reduced funding from the government.

The result has been mass failure to pay council tax by those who would previously have been exempt, and a surge in cases where benefits are docked to make good on arrears. Data released under the Freedom of Information Act from 133 local authorities reveals that 190,198 households currently hav

Given the number of councils that did not provide figures, it is likely that around 360,000 households could be facing this form of sanction, which requires an order from a magistrate. Many of them would not have had to pay any council tax prior to the government’s reform of the system.

The worst-affected council area in England is Labour-run Liverpool, where 17,582 households claiming council tax support have so-called “attachments” to benefits. Up to £192 can be sliced off a claimant’s benefit each year in order to clear their council tax arrears.

…….

Most English councils have introduced minimum payments for those who were previously exempt, usually 25% to 30% of the tax owed. Such families are required to pay £171 per year.

Only one year’s council tax debt at a time can be repaid by attachments to benefits. If someone has council tax debts spanning multiple years, they end up with a separate attachment for each year, queued up one after the other.

The figures released to the Observer show there are 113,590 so-called “pending attachments” across 117 councils.

Will the Labour Party announce support for the restoration of full Council Tax Benefit?

We notice no policy on benefits, including nothing on sanctions, in Corbyn’s Ten Point pledge. 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 7, 2016 at 10:59 am

Restore Council Tax Benefit!

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It’s that time again.

When we have to pay Council Tax.

Even at the reduced rate it’s another burden, and our benefits were effectively cut when they decided we had to make this payment.

Apparently it’s about making us ‘responsible’: that is chipping into our meagre fortnightly payment to fork out another sum of money.

This is how the news was presented  in 2013,

Another benefits bombshell could be on the way for some of the poorest in society.

Just as they adjust to the idea that their benefits will rise below inflation for the next three years, some now also face paying council tax for the first time.

The government is scrapping the national council tax benefit scheme from April.

Instead local authorities will have to draw up their own methods of supporting people on benefits and low incomes.

BBC

This was an analysis (The impact of localising council tax benefit.)

Changes to council tax benefits will affect poorer households and create inconsistencies in neighbouring areas. Multiple schemes will add complexity and reduce transparency.

A few months later and we saw this (Guardian):

Thousands of UK’s poor in court over non-payment of council tax

Courts across country fill up with people on lowest incomes as introduction of new council tax charges in April begins to bite.

By April 2015 we had this:

Half a million more people summoned to court over unpaid council tax, after benefits scrapped

Exclusive: Almost three million people taken to court by local authorities in wake of changes to support.

Welfare Weekly the same year,

Huge Surge In Poorest Families Summoned To Court Over Unpaid Council Tax.

There has been a huge surge in the number of low-income families summoned to court over unpaid council tax, new research shows.

New research published by False Economy shows an increase of more than 500,000 court summons in England, as the poorest households are hit by a £490 million cut in council tax support.

And the problem is set to get even worse, as one in seven local authorities plan further cuts in the support available to families struggling to pay council tax bills.

The TUC believes this will result in the poorest families facing even higher council tax demands and lead to a rise in the number summoned to court.

Figures show that more than 3 million people in England were taken to court by local authorities in 2013/14 over unpaid council tax. This represents a 25% rise on the previous year.

Council Tax Benefit was scrapped by the government and replaced by the Council Tax Support Scheme (CTS) in 2013/14. The change meant that councils in England were allowed to develop their own support schemes, but were also forced to accept a 10% in funding from central government for those schemes.

Only a small number of councils chose to keep full council tax support for low-income families. Vulnerable pensioners were unaffected by the changes and are still entitled to have their council tax bills fully paid.

According to figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), around 2.5 million low-income families were affected by a reduction in council tax support in the first year of the scheme.

Where councils introduced minimum council tax payments for the poorest households, court summons increased by 30%. Only 9% of local authorities continue to offer full council tax relief.

The research by False Economy also found that households who qualified for CTS, and who were subject to minimum council tax payment requirements, accounted for 58% of the rise in court summonses.

According to the research, people who are struggling to pay council tax bills are routinely being affected by deductions in benefits and targeted by bailiffs.

A False Economy spokesperson said: “Council tax support cuts have caused chaos for families and households, and also for councils.

“They are leaving people out of pocket and in debt, which is also bad for local businesses that depend on them as customers.

“Councils are now pursuing people through the courts for money they do not have. It is a shambles made by a cabinet of millionaires in a government that has been completely out of touch with reality.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Slashing council tax support has been one of the government’s cruellest cuts.

“It was foolish for ministers to think that families who can’t afford to heat their homes can pay new tax bills for hundreds of pounds.

“And it is heartless for them to stand by as the poorest families are hauled through the courts and harassed by bailiffs.

“If anyone is to be hit with higher taxes it should be the fat cats in the boardrooms and those corporations that are dodging paying their fair share, not the poorest working-age households in the UK.”

Reports on the story seem to have dried up this year.

But the Guardian has just published this:

The arithmetic of the powerful that makes poor people ill

I have been summoned to Tottenham magistrates court on Thursday 4 August because I am refusing to pay my council tax to the London borough of Haringey. I am fighting against state-imposed ill heath. When Grant Thornton, Haringey’s accountants, audited the £125 costs added – more than 20,000 times – to council tax arrears by Tottenham magistrates in 2013/14, they refused to consider the impact of poverty on the health of Haringey residents.

I asked: “Please will you ask the local GPs and NHS by how much their costs have increased due to the increasing impact of debt and austerity on the health of residents since their benefits were taxed in April 2013.” They replied: “we have no remit … to opine on the impact of this policy on the wellbeing of those required to pay council tax”.

The point has been passed where the arithmetic of the powerful should bend to the damaging and state-imposed insolvency of the powerless. The cumulative impact of caps, housing benefit cuts and council tax on the diminishing incomes of the worst off has damaged their health and life expectancy. Hunger is the tip of the iceberg.
Rev Paul Nicolson
London

Abolish the obligation of Claimants to pay Council Tax!

Restore Council Tax Benefit!

Written by Andrew Coates

August 3, 2016 at 10:02 am

Posted in Council Tax, Cuts, DWP

Council Tax: as Claimants Have to Pay Arrears Rise, Rise and Rise.

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Eric Pickles: Inflicted Council Tax Debt on Poor while Stuffing Himself with Pies.

Having just paid my monthly Council Tax bill – at the last possible moment – this issue flagged by Ken is something hard not to notice.

It is hardly a coincidence that the rate of arrears has grown massively since people on the Dole – that is a the minimum you are supposed to need to live in – had their money cut by having to fork out this extra monthly bill.

Nor is a surprise that many people put electricity, gas and water, not to mention food, above Council Tax as a priority.

I would lay a hefty bet that the rise is in large part due to this obligation for claimants to ‘contribute’.

On food alone mind you it’s not only the out-of-work who struggle: “More than 8 million in UK struggle to put food on table, survey says. Food Foundation reveals scale of food insecurity, with 4.7 million thought to be regularly going a day without eating.”

The man responsible for this burden on the poorest, Eric Pickles – not somebody who looks he;s ever been short of a good nosh – desigend the system partly to punish those on benefits, and partly to make life more difficult for Labour councils where they will eb forced to reply oin this expensive to collect and oppressive scheme.

Piggy Pickles is up there with Iain Duncan Smith as an enemy of us lot.

Debt Charities Warn Of Record Levels Of Council Tax Arrears. Welfare Weekly.

Two debt charities have called on local authorities to end the practice of passing vulnerable residents Council Tax debts to bailiffs.

Two leading debt advice charities have called on local authorities to end the practice of passing vulnerable residents Council Tax debts to bailiffs, as figures show the level of arrears has hit a record high.

Analysis by the StepChange debt charity found that average Council Tax arrears have increased from £717 in 2011 to £961 in 2015, an increase of 25 per cent. Just 14 per cent of the charity’s clients we’re struggling with Council Tax arrears in 2011, but this has now increased to a shocking 30 per cent.

 Figures from National Debtline, an expert advisory service run by the Money Advice Trust, closely mirror those from StepChange. Nearly one in four calls (24%) to the specialist service were from people with Council Tax arrears in 2015, compared to just 14 per cent in 2007.

Both charities have expressed concerns with the increasing use of enforcement agents by local authorities. The Money Advice Trust’s ‘Stop The Knock’ campaign has revealed how 1.27 million debts directly related to Council Tax arrears were referred to bailiffs in 2014/15.

An independent review, led by former MP Eric Ollerenshaw, has also expressed concerns over the increasing use of enforcement agents by local authorities in recovering debts.

More here.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 9, 2016 at 3:35 pm