“Too often we see the harm that’s caused by the way this debt is collected”, Citizens Advice welcomes new guidance for recovery of council tax
Today, the Money Advice Service has launched guidance for a more progressive approach to the recovery of Council Tax.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
"Council tax arrears are the most common debt issue we help people with at Citizens Advice.
"Too often we see the harm that's caused by the way this debt is collected, including further financial hardship and stress. The pursuit of government debt by authorities has also been criticised by MPs.
"Good collection practices by local authorities can work. By helping those who are struggling to meet their payments, councils can improve their collection rates.
"While voluntary approaches are welcome, to properly protect people from bad practices the government needs to establish an independent bailiff regulator."
Since 2014, it has been more common for people to come to Citizens Advice for help with household bill debts - such as council tax - than with problems related to consumer credit debts.
Between 2011/12 and 2017/18 council tax arrears problems increased from 168,000 to 217,000.
Our Council Tax Protocol has been signed by 61 councils, covering over 12.1m people (22% of the population in England.)
The amount of council tax arrears is calculated at £2.84 billion. This is based on data from the Department for Communities and Local Government.
This year, MPs on the Treasury Select Committee this year labelled government debt collection practices as "overzealous and with routine recourse to bailiffs."
Notes to editors
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