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Review of Council Tax arrears collection welcomed

The government has announced a new review of council tax arrears collection in which they have pledged to make the Council Tax collection system fairer and more efficient.

In its announcement, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government recognised concerns raised by debt advice bodies about council tax collection practice.
This news comes in the same week as the Justice Select Committee’s report into the bailiff industry, with MPs from across the political spectrum endorsing the debt advice sector’s long-standing calls for independent regulation.
Research by the Money Advice Trust showed that in 2016/17 councils in England and Wales made 2.3 million referrals to bailiffs, the majority of which were for council tax arrears.
Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline, said:
“This new review of the way that Council Tax arrears are collected is very welcome and, alongside the Ministry of Justice’s recent call for evidence on bailiff reform, we are hopeful that the government will now address both aspects of this growing problem.
“Collecting what is owed is crucial for councils to fund vital services. However, the evidence shows local authorities all too often resort to aggressive collection tactics, including the use of bailiffs, which do not always take into account residents’ circumstances.
“There are a growing number of examples out there of councils taking a more progressive approach to debt collection, and we look forward to working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to improve councils’ approach in this area.”
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s statement on the review is available here.
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