Crawley Borough Council - Stop using Bailiffs

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Crawley is known to have the lowest social mobility in the South East as well as having more than a quarter of our children in the town living in poverty. https://www.crawleyobserver.co.uk/news/a-quarter-of-crawley-children-living-in-poverty-1-8348246

One of the foremost reasons for low social mobility and poverty is the cyclical nature of debt which many families in our town find themselves in. A large proportion of the debts owed by individuals and families to the Council are never actually collected and end up being written off.  There is evidence to suggest that exemptions from Bailiff action can actually increase the collection rate of debts owed to Councils. An exemption from Bailiff action in Lambeth for Council Tax support recipients increased the collection rate from approximately 80% in 2014/15 to 93% in 2015/16, taking Lambeth from one of the lowest collection rates to one of the highest. http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/StillTooPoor_web_update5Oct16_0.pdf

It doesn't need to be stated, but having Bailiffs at your door or in your home eyeing up your possessions is extremely stressful and emotionally damaging and has been cited as “a significant part of the causal pathway” from financial difficulty to mental health problems, without even considering the impact that Bailiffs can have on children who won't understand why a stranger is going into their home and taking their possessions.

http://www.moneyadvicetrust.org/researchpolicy/research/Documents/Money%20Advice%20Trust%20-%20Stop%20The%20Knock%202017%20report.pdf

We need to stop the damaging and counterproductive practice of employing bailiffs to collect Council debts, and look for more humane alternatives to increase debt collection rates without inflicting emotional damage on the residents of our town.

This petition calls on Crawley Borough Council to stop the predatory usage of Bailiffs to recover debts to the Council owed by individuals due to Council Tax arrears owed and to furthermore stop using Bailiffs to recover all debts owed by socially vulnerable people, including but not limited to: those not in employment, care leavers, SEN individuals and families, refugees and asylum seekers, those with complex medical needs and disabilities, and people suffering with mental health issues. 

You can contact the Leader of Crawley Borough Council, Cllr. Peter Lamb, and the Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr. Stephen Joyce, at peter.lamb@crawley.gov.uk and stephen.joyce@crawley.gov.uk to directly express your support for this petition.



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