Sheffield council have joined the list of bodies that have introduced debt collection agencies and bailiffs in an attempt to recover unpaid debts.
With councils encouraged to utilise private debt collection agencies and then Councils Following Up On Debt Collection Agency Recommendation by utilising more debt collection agencies as a means of recovering outstanding debt it is evident that a tougher stance is being taken with those who do not pay.
Sheffield Council is looking to recover £6 millions of unpaid debts consisting of council tax, business rates, and parking and bus lane fines. The new measures are likely a result of a squeeze on its income due to Government spending cuts.
In the year to April, officials referred 10,225 cases to bailiffs, involving debt totalling £6,035,832. The council has not revealed how much of the money was actually recovered. The cases include 3,851 parking and bus lane fines during 2011/12.
The figure is down on the previous year, when 4,897 parking and bus lane fines were referred to bailiffs.
Sheffield residents’ groups today backed the council in its tough stance.
Speaking to the Terry Andrews, treasurer of Base Green Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said:
“I’m flabbergasted by the number of people not paying up.”
“I think the council is right to send bailiffs to people’s houses and businesses.”
“If people who owe money do not pay, services end up having to be cut instead.”