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Local authorities send out 2 million bailiffs


Local authorities used bailiffs more than 2 million times last year, according to research from the Money Advice Trust (MAT).

The administrative bodies for the local government sent out Enforcement Agents to collect debts from 2 million households, which shows a 16% increase over the last two years. They were mainly used to collect Council Tax debts, which are becoming one of the fastest growing problems that people are turning to National Debtline about.

The MAT has criticised the government and claimed that the bailiffs were likely to make debt problems even worse, and other forms of retrieval should be used.

Joanna Elson, the chief executive of the MAT said:
"Something is seriously wrong here. On the front line of debt advice we know that sending the bailiffs in can deepen debt problems, rather than solve them - and it can also have a severe impact on the wellbeing of people who are often already in a vulnerable situation."

Local authorities have claimed that Enforcement Agents are only sent out as a last resort, and households will have been sent letters and encouraged to seek financial advice before they were sent in. Also, a 40% cut in funding and little support from the government have forced them to take drastic measures to try and recoup money they are owed.

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