In 2014/15, Shepway District Council instructed bailiffs to collect debts from individuals and businesses on 3647 occasions – up 141% in two years.
The number of debts passed to bailiffs was equivalent to 6.8% of properties in the area, ranking the council at 111 out of 326 for local authority bailiff use in England and Wales.
In comparison in 2014/15, Ashford Borough Council [ABC] instructed bailiffs to collect debts from individuals and businesses on 1778 occasions – down 26% in two years.
The number of debts passed to bailiffs was equivalent to 3.18% of properties in the area, ranking the council at 227 out of 326 for local authority bailiff use in England and Wales.
See: Stop The Knock
This places SDC in the top third of Council’s using bailiffs and ABC in the bottom third. The number of businesses in Shepway experiencing Bailiffs knocking at the door has also increased, demonstrating that it is not just the poorest in Shepway who are suffering from a local economy which is not performing.
In April 2012 – through to March 2013 SDC employed bailiffs for Council Tax Collection 1346 times
ShepwayVox is very concerned that SDC may be too quick to pass debts to bailiffs. Over Half of people who receive help with bailiff problems are families with children. A bailiff turning up at the doorstep of anyone’s home causes a lot of stress and anxiety.
SDC have a duty to protect and support the people who live in Shepway. They need to recognise the current squeeze on household finances. If a family is struggling to pay their council tax bill it is quite likely they are battling other bills too. This is equally relevant to businesses as well as ShepwayVox believes that SDC should be creating a vibrant local economy and it would appear from the Stats they are not. These new stats along with the older ones should be sounding an alarm bell at SDC, but I think the Alarm Bell may well be falling upon deaf ears.