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Working parents chased by bailiffs

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Research has shown that 1 in 5 people with a bailiff problem are working parents. The study which was undertaken by the Citizens Advice Bureau also found that parents are more likely to have bailiffs knocking on the door than any other household. Figures show that half of the people seeking advice on bailiff issues are families with small children.

Bailiff problems

There’s not much between unemployed families and those in work with a 46%/54% divide. The study also showed that there’s a distinct North-South divide when it comes to bailiff problem. The North East makes up a sixth of all bailiff cases handled by the Citizens Advice Bureau in England and Wales. 1 in 25 cases handled by North East based CAB offices are bailiff related, compared to 1 in 100 in the South West.

Over half the people in the East Midlands with a bailiff problem are a family as opposed to couples or individuals.

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Bailiffs chase people for anything from council tax arrears and unpaid parking tickets to loans and credit cards.

This new study analysed over 13,000 people who attended the Citizens Advice Bureau between January and March of this year. The CAB assisted 38,262 people in over 60,000 bailiff cases between April 2012 and March 2013. More than a third of these were council tax arrears.

Aggressive behaviour towards families

It’s not just the debt itself that presents a problem; Bailiffs regularly act aggressively and increase debt by adding excessive legal fees and charges.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:

“The prospect of a bailiff knocking at the door of a family home is terrifying for anyone, particularly parents with kids at home. Mums and Dads don’t want their children to know about their money worries, but when a person is standing on their doorstep demanding money, it is unavoidable and frightening for all of the family.

The fact that working parents are being hounded by bailiffs for debts is a worrying reflection on today’s living standards. Hard-working households are racking up debts just to get by.

We’re concerned that all too often debts, like unpaid council tax, are passed to bailiffs too quickly without recognizing that the person may be struggling and need help like repayment plans. Creditors need to be identifying debt problems earlier and offering support and never side-stepping responsibilities by handing it over to bailiffs.”

Now the CAB is calling on councils to sign up to their good practice protocol for council tax debts. This scheme commits to helping those who are struggling to pay their council tax for whatever reason. It also highlights different payment date options so that families can budget for their council tax bills more easily.

Rogue bailiffs

Early in 2013 the Government announced plans to stamp out rogue bailiffs from next April. They said they will ban bailiffs from entering homes at night or when only children are present. The Citizens Advice Bureau hope this plan goes ahead but doesn’t believe it will tackle the lack of proper controls over bailiff firms in this country.

 

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About Dani Lee

About Dani Lee

Dani enjoys turning her hand to writing when she gets a chance. Dani works full time and has 2 children, Sophie, 7 and Harry, 15 months and if anyone knows what it is to be a working parent, she does!

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