From Kate Belgrave’s blog
Happy New Year, all.
Am kicking things off with a story about council tax, people who can’t afford to pay it, bailiffs who keep bashing on doors to demand money that people continue not to have and the almost-unusable council systems that people must use to try and sort things out.
Just before Christmas, I rang Redbridge council on behalf of a young woman who lived in Redbridge a couple of years ago. She was moved there from another borough to escape domestic violence. She lives in another borough now.
To get down to it: the councils in all three of the boroughs that this young woman has lived in over recent years have chased her – through the courts and with bailiffs – for council tax that she can’t pay.
This situation regularly spiralled out of control last year. The demands for money kept coming. Bailiff and court costs increased (and continue to do so). The bailiffs turned up. Towards the end of last year, visits from bailiffs became a regular feature in this young woman’s life. “I hide in the bedroom when they come…or I try not to be at home,” she told me. Imagine that. She spent the Christmas break staying away from her flat to avoid bailiffs. God only knows how many people live this way.
Point is – the thing is futile. It so often is. This young woman has repayment plans, but has run into trouble with these for the simple reason that she has no money. This is the key point to keep in mind. If people have no money, they have no money. Harassment by councils and bailiffs doesn’t change this basic fact.