Bailiff figures are released

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Amber Valley Borough Council has confirmed its position on using bailiffs to collect bad debts, following a BBC news item in which the Money Advice Trust claimed some local authorities were using bailiffs to an ‘excessive extent’.

A spokesperson for the borough council said there are 55,300 council tax dwellings and 3,700 business rate paying properties in Amber Valley, and an average of 1,600 council tax and 130 business rates cases are passed to the bailiff each year. The BBC news story featuring on August 22, stated that some authorities pass almost 50 per cent of their total caseload to the bailiffs.

Amber Valley’s equivalent percentage is under 3 per cent it says for council tax and around 3.5 per cent for business rates.

The council’s revenues collection manager Martin Hendy said: “We always try and make arrangements to discharge balances rather than enforce payment. After court hearings bailiffs can be sent to properties with the legal power to seize items which can be sold to cover the debts. However, sending in the bailiff is the last resort.

“If anyone has a problem paying their Council Tax we would ask them to talk to us as soon as possible as they may be entitled to a reduction in their bill.”