Debt Collectors Recover Unpaid Taxes and Parking Fines

Council ranks among most prolific in country for their use of bailiffs

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Wandsworth Council called in bailiffs 30,105 times to recover debts owed by residents according to a new report by Big Brother Watch.

Big Brother Watch, the civil liberties and privacy campaigning organisation, released the report exposing the extent to which councils use debt recovery agents such as bailiffs to recover unpaid council tax and parking fine debts.

Although it boasts one of the lowest Council taxes in the country, cases passed to a debt recovery agency or bailiffs by Wandsworth Council to recover non payments numbered 27,393.

Merton Council did not respond to Big Brother Watch's Freedom of Information request in either a 'timely or appropriate manner'.

Commenting on the figures Daniel Hamilton, Director of Big Brother Watch said: “Sending in bailiffs to recover debts should always be the absolute last resort. The fact local councils have passed more than six million cases to bailiffs for matters as trivial as the late payment of council taxes and parking fines is truly shocking.

“In many cases, bailiffs are a law unto themselves; barging their way into people’s homes, intimidating vulnerable members of the public and imposing rip-off charges.

“The Coalition Government must act now to end the culture of bully-boy debt collection which has taken hold in Town Halls across the country”.

April 9, 2011