Council Tax Debt Leads to 1.4m visits by Bailiffs

Council Tax debt has led to bailiffs visiting over 1.4 million homes over council tax debts in 2009, according to statistics obtained by the Conservatives.

There has been a 60% rise in the number of families being pursued for their council tax debt. And the sharp rise council tax bills is thought to be the reason why more and more people are failing to meet their council tax debt.  The council tax bill for an average home has gone from £688 in 1997 to almost double the figure at £1,414.

Along with the 1.4 million who have been paid a visit from bailiffs, over three million people received court summons from their local council over falling behind on their council tax.

Over the 2008-2009 financial year, 3,121,089 orders were issued in England and Wales alone; this is a rise of 700,000 in just three years. The Conservatives believe that above-inflation rises in council tax bill has led to millions of families struggling with their debts and in need of debt management help.

It is not just bailiffs that families need to worry about when falling behind on their council tax debt as many could face the risk of being declared bankrupt. 2009 saw over 1,500 people being made bankrupt due to their council tax debts.

The shadow secretary for communities and local government, Caroline Spelman, commented: “Three million households suffer the trauma of going to court due to council tax. One and a half million people now face a menacing town hall bailiff knocking at their door.”