Last year, Councils used Court action 2.3 million times and bailiffs 1.4 million times to collect council tax debt. The bailiff fees added £200 million to people’s debts. Over 1.3 million households are estimated to have built up council tax debts because of coronavirus. When the Covid restrictions on debt collection end on 23 August, the day on which bailiffs can arrive—or debt D-day, as the coalition charities have called it— there need to be pre-action protocols in place to prevent people finding themselves on the streets.
House of Lords Oral Questions July 23rd 2020
My Lords, returning to my noble friend’s Question, is the Minister aware that, last year, councils used court action 2.3 million times and bailiffs 1.4 million times to collect council tax debt? The bailiff fees added £200 million to people’s debts. Given the expiry date of 23 August, to which the noble Lord, Lord Wood, referred, will the Minister bring forward, in advance of the review, a specific examination of pre-action protocols?
My Lords, again, I hear what the noble Lord says. I find myself in the position of answering on behalf of a department that manages the group in relation to government debt. Obviously I will pass on to my colleagues in MHCLG the points that he and noble Lords are making. I repeat that they had announced last year that they would update guidance to councils on collection and enforcement.