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