#CouncilTax Debt Collection And The Damage To Children

Email sent to Mrs Mary May my Local Councillor in Cornwall

“I’m writing to you as my local Councillor to ask you to protect children and teenagers from the damaging effects of council tax debt collection practices.

There are 12320 children living in 7115 families who have faced council tax debt in our area.

The Children’s Society report, “The Wolf at the Door” highlights how children and teenagers are feeling sad, frightened and worried after routinely coming face to face with bailiffs in their own homes, sent by the local council to demand sudden, unrealistic council tax payments.

Last year, 8176 bailiff referrals were made in Cornwall that’s the equivalent of 31 for every 1,000 households

The Children’s Society report “The Debt Trap” highlighted how a third of families in council tax arrears who sought help from their council found it not helpful at all, whilst their latest research shows that some councils are often demanding the full year’s council tax amount just 14 days after a family or young person misses their first monthly bill, pushing court summons or the threat of bailiffs soon after.

I know that councils are under huge pressure to ensure that as much council tax revenue is collected as promptly as possible, to allow the continued funding of vital services, however, the good practice examples in their report showed that councils can use less damaging techniques, protecting children from bailiffs and giving families time to get independent advice, whilst at the same time collecting more in council tax than the national average. We are encouraging more councils to adopt these practices and review their council tax collection policies to better protect children.

Please can you write to the Leader of the council, asking that Cornwall Council use less damaging collection methods. This would help families and young people get back on their feet – without fear and intimidation. Every child and teenager deserves to feel safe in their own home without being scared of the next knock at the door.

The Children’s Society has also produced an advice sheet to help you support your constituents who face council tax debt.

You can read the report, the advice note and find out more information about the Debt Trap campaign and the work of The Children’s Society by visiting http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-you-can-do/campaign-for-change/council-tax-collection-harm-children

I’d be very grateful if you could let me know what steps you will take to protect children and teenagers from the damaging effects of council tax collection practices. I look forward to hearing from you.”

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Please click on the link and do the same for YOUR area.

council-tax-going-through-the-roof

#BedroomTax and Michael Hilton’s Eviction

You hear all the time, People say ” I just can’t believe that….” – Well this is one of those times!!!

Daily Mirror 18/06/2014
http://t.co/INl1mr8xAD

On Wednesday June 4th 2014 Michael Hilton from Accrington was forcibly EVICTED from his home.
His Housing Association HYNDBURN HOMES http://www.hyndburnhomes.co.uk/ claim he owes #BedroomTAX.
Michael Hilton has lived in his home for 30 years!!!!

Michael Hilton is not a well man. He has had mental health problems for a considerable time. He was outraged when the Bailiffs turned up at his home. From what I have been told by Michael’s sister, Michael may well have ignored much of the correspondence leading up to Court Proceedings and the eviction itself. Isn’t that what many of us do when we are worried sick and stressed? – We bury our heads in the sand!!!

Hilton
(Lancashire Telegraph)

ALL Michael’s possessions, including treasured photographs and trinkets were thrown in the skip. Along with all his other belongings, including his clothes. A representative employed by Hyndburn Homes is alledged to have said to Michaels neighbours (whilst laughing)  ” Help Yourselves”
The house was boarded up immediately and the skip has since been ‘rifled’ by uncaring individuals…..

Whilst I don’t condone bad behaviour of any kind, or threats of violence, Michael took umbridge with the Bailiffs. Poor Soul ended up being arrested for ”Threatening Behaviour’ and ‘Attempted Affray’. He was whisked off to a prison in Liverpool and held on remand until a Crown Court appearance in Burnley this week.

Michael’s hearing was not very positive.
A Trial date has been set for 12th Nov, with plea hearing on 22nd Aug. NO bail – They are still holding him on remand! and again, to my knowledge NO MH assessment!!

How can this man be treated in this way, all he wanted to do was to stay in his home.

Now then, are you ready for ‘that moment’…………

Michael may well have been EXEMPT from Bedroom Tax under the ‘1996 Ruling/Loophole!!!!!!!!!!!!

Incredible.
There is a good chance that had the DWP, the Housing Association (Hyndburn Homes) and the Local Council – Hyndburn, have all failed him. Had they have done their job properly, then Michael would NEVER have found himself in this situation!!!!!!!!!!!!
His sister tells me he has been in continuous receipt of Housing Benefit since the mid 80’s. He was however detained at HMP for a brief period of 8 weeks several years ago.

The reason given is,  ‘alledgedly’, that he “doesn’t ‘fit the 1996 criteria, his head was not on his own pillow'” – how mad is that????

To my knowledge, there was NEVER a break in his Housing Benefit, he was STILL the registered Tenant at THAT address.
Hey, are we not allowed to sleep elsewhere now? Is that what Burnley Council/HyndburnHomes want us to believe? Michael could have been visiting you or the Queen for all I care.

He FITS the 1996 Criteria…….

I believe that Hyndburn Council, failed him. Hyndburn Homes, failed him, the DWP, failed him,…….
Why was he allowed to slip through the net? Where were the ‘Welfare Advice’ teams? Where were his Local Ward Councillors?
But more importantly, the buck stops with Cameron, IDS, McVey and the DWP. This was their Co*k Up and poor Michael Hilton is now in Prison BECAUSE of THEM!!!!!!