Debt | LocalGov

Councils refer 600,000 people to bailiffs


Local authorities referred almost 600,000 people to bailiffs last year due to failure to pay council tax, according to a freedom of information request.

Scottish councils’ debt is one-and-a-half times funding


The debt of councils in Scotland is more than one-and-a-half times the latest local government funding settlement, the Scottish Conservatives have found.

Thurrock boosted by £500m after sale


Thurrock Council has received £510m in payments following the sale of Toucan Energy Holdings – the firm that triggered a section 114 notice when it collapsed.

Isle of Wight debt accounts for 42% of annual budget


Isle of Wight Council has insisted it borrows to invest in essential projects after revealing its debt amounts to 42% of the authority’s annual budget.

Council referrals to bailiffs up 20%


Referrals to bailiffs in England and Wales to recover council debts have risen by nearly 20%, a BBC investigation has found.

Two councils issued Best Value notices


Eastleigh and Runnymede borough councils have been issued Best Value notices over concerns about their debts.

Councillors reject £1.5m debt write-off


Councillors in Bolton have voted against plans to write off £1.5m worth of debt owed by the local authority's parking operator.

Poorer households should not be chased for council tax debt, MPs say


The Government should ensure local authorities are not ‘aggressively’ chasing council tax debt from those who can least afford it, MPs have said.

Brum commissioners warn council will need further help to agree lawful budget


Commissioners at Birmingham City Council have warned it will struggle to agree a lawful budget next year without further help.

Call for Government write off of Croydon debt


The Government should write off Croydon LBC’s £1.3bn of General Fund debt, a senior opposition councillor has urged.

Croydon improvement panel details exit strategy


Croydon LBC’s Government-appointed improvement panel has outlined a timetable for withdrawing from the authority amid ‘strong progress’ in fixing its finances.

Liverpool to write off £25m council tax debt


Millions of pounds worth of unpaid council tax is set to be written off by Liverpool City Council as ‘irrecoverable’.

Councils face record £3.5bn shortfall


Research has uncovered a £3.5bn shortfall facing councils over the next financial year, revealing ‘true scale of the dire state of local government funding’.

Council to limit non-essential spending amid s114 threat


Windsor & Maidenhead BC is to limit all non-essential spending as it raised the risk of a section 114.

Millions of households struggle with rent payments


Seven million households across the UK are struggling to keep up with their rent or mortgage payments, according to research published today by Which?

Spelthorne confident of financial strength


Spelthorne BC has struck a defiant note over its level of debt on the back of another Surrey council warning of potential bankruptcy.

EXCLUSIVE: Government rejects sector's Oflog concerns


The Government has rejected council concerns about key Oflog metrics that have been labelled ‘misleading and meaningless’.

Time to ban the use of bailiffs


Councils have the power to end the use of bailiffs for good. It’s time for them to show leadership, says Joe Cox, senior policy officer, Debt Justice.

Woking staff face redundancy


All Woking BC staff will go through redundancy consultations by the end of the year as the struggling local authority seeks to tackle its financial problems.

Rent arrears surge


Four in five council landlords have reported growing rent arrears over the past year, according to the findings of a new survey.

Disadvantaged women in North East dying early


Disadvantaged women in the North East are dying prematurely as public services are failing to meet their needs, according to a new report.

Nearly 13 million adults facing ‘debt crisis’


The number of households struggling under a heavy debt burden has increased by two thirds since 2017, a debt charity has warned.

Warrington prepares for £3m increase in debt interest payments


Debt-ridden Warrington BC has admitted it will be hit by a £3m bill to refinance a £110m Government loan.

Preventing future Section 114 notices


Joanne Pitt, Local Government Policy manager at CIPFA, reflects on Woking BC’s financial troubles and looks at the lessons for other councils.

Cash-strapped Thurrock to hike charges


Beleaguered Thurrock Council is set to increase charges for its services to help deal with its cash crisis.

BREAKING: Woking's 'astonishing' financial crisis risks hitting Government borrowing


Calamity-struck Woking BC may need to write off up to £1bn after a series of disastrous investments – a debt so big it would impact on Government borrowing.

Croydon housing staff ballot for strike over job cuts


Housing staff at cash-strapped Croydon Council are balloting for strike action today over concerns that a restructure could lead to 26 redundancies.

Estimated 700,000 households miss housing payments


An estimated 700,000 households missed a housing payment in the last month, according to consumer watchdog.

Bailiffs breaking rules on ‘massive scale’, says charity


Bailiffs are breaking the rules on a ‘massive scale’ and driving people deeper into poverty, charity warns.

Croydon approves 15% tax hike


Croydon LBC has approved a 15% council tax increase as part of a 2023-24 budget that was originally rejected.

Liverpool council reports over £220m of outstanding debts


Liverpool City Council has over £220m of outstanding debts that it does not expect to recover, a report by the interim chief finance officer has said.

Woking Borough Council warns of possible S114


Woking Borough Council has warned that it is ‘in the territory’ of effective bankruptcy as it struggles with over £2bn of debt.

Council in £540m debt write off plea


Croydon LBC has asked Government to write off £540m of its debt in 2023-24 to ‘restore financial sustainability’.

Eurovision Song Contest host owes council over £7m


ACC Liverpool Group, the company that runs the host venue for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, owes the city council £7.1m.

Eastleigh finance review to start


The Government has commissioned a review of Eastleigh BC’s finances to start this week after concerns over its debt levels.

New regulatory body for bailiffs launched


A new regulatory body for bailiffs was launched today as new figures reveal over a third of families fear the cost-of-living crisis will force them into debt.

Croydon issues S114 notice


Croydon Council has put a halt to all non-statutory spending as it tries to find £130m of savings in the next financial year.

How Middlesbrough Council increased engagement rates by 59% of residents in Council Tax arrears


Middlesbrough Council embarked on a six-month pilot with Voicescape to improve customer engagement over outstanding payments.

MPs call for pause in benefit deductions to help struggling families


MPs have urged the DWP to pause deductions from benefits to help families who are struggling to get by due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Two million households miss payments


An estimated two million or more households have missed a bill payment every month this year, consumer watchdog finds.

Talks held over council's debt concern


Woking BC has held ‘positive and constructive’ talks with the Government amid ministerial concerns about the sustainability of the authority’s debts.

Charity calls for suspension of UC deductions


Suspending deductions from UC for Government debt would help over a million low income households struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, researchers say.

People with mental health issues three times more likely to fall into council tax arrears, charity warns


Councils have been urged to provide people with mental health problems with more support to prevent them from falling into council tax debt.

Nearly 430,000 people missed a council tax payment last year


Hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland have missed a council tax payment in the last year after running out of money before pay day, a new analysis finds.

Slough approves asset fire sale


Crisis-hit Slough Council has approved plans to flog around £600m worth of assets as it battles to get its finances under control.

Breaking the technical debt cycle in local government


Iouri Prokhorov argues that for effective digital transformation to take root and to tackle technical debt, local government organisations need to learn from previous mistakes and habits.

Universal Credit cuts to force two million people into debt


Government plans to cut Universal Credit this October could push 2.3 million people into the red, Citizens Advice warns.

New toolkit to help councils support vulnerable people in debt


Vulnerable people who owe councils money will receive better support from frontline workers following the launch of a new toolkit.

How will the ECA affect debt collection protocol?


Corclaim’s head of debt & asset recovery, Jayne Gardner, discusses the Enforcement Conduct Authority, and what this means for debt collection protocol.

It’s time to stop counting on the courts to collect council tax arrears


John Doyle calls on councils to rethink ineffective processes used to handle arrears and focus on communication, affordability, and vulnerability.

Families facing 'tidal wave' of debt warns think tank


A new partnership between bailiff companies and charities has been launched to help families facing a 'tidal wave' of debt due to the pandemic.

Small businesses took on five times more debt during pandemic


Independent businesses offer placemakers an opportunity to create a unique experience but need the support of central and local government, report says.

Council tax debt rises to £4.4bn


Council tax debt increased by £841m last year due to the pandemic reducing or delaying recovery action, official figures have shown.

Northern cities and towns face a debt ‘avalanche’ warns think tank


The withdrawal of COVID support this summer will hit people in the in the North and Midlands disproportionately hard and risks derailing the Government’s levelling up agenda, Centre for Cities has warned today.

Calls to use Budget to tackle 'rent debt crisis'


The chancellor has been warned that homelessness will increase if he fails to tackle the rent debt crisis in the upcoming Budget.

Charity warns of council tax debt ‘explosion’


Thousands of people in Scotland have racked up £6.8m in council tax arrears, a charity has warned.

Councils told to prepare for 'breathing space moratorium' on council tax debt


Councils have been reminded that households struggling to pay their council tax bills will be able to pause payments from next May.

Calls to pause enforcement of council tax arrears in Tier 3 areas


Local authorities in Tier 3 areas should not be required to enforce the collection of council tax debts, argues Citizens Advice.

How to approach rental arrears in a COVID world


Chris Walker explains how data science, behavioural insights and technology can help councils change the way they manage repayment arrangements.

Debt charity calls for ‘long overdue’ bailiff reform


A charity has warned that the Government’s public health guidance for bailiffs leaves concerns about the impact of debt collection on households ‘unaddressed’.

Lockdown havoc on finance figures


Public debt has bust the £2tn mark for the first time, up by £227.6bn over the same time last year as the lockdown wreaks havoc on the public finance figures.

Pre-crisis council tax arrears reached £3.6bn


Local authorities were owed £3.6bn in unpaid council tax before the start of the pandemic, figures have shown.

Bailiff costs could add £158m to council tax debt, charity warns


People in council tax debt could face an extra £158m in bailiff and court costs, research has warned today.

Rent arrears could see homelessness treble this year, campaigners warn


Homelessness could treble this year due to financial impact of coronavirus, campaigners have warned today.

The new normal for public sector debt collection


Richard Haymes asks what lessons will be learned after the crisis and how will policy, such as the FCA’s persistent debt and breathing space rules, be implemented in a post-coronavirus landscape.

Nearly two thirds of families on Universal Credit stuck in debt ‘nightmare’


Two charities have called on the Government to increase the child element of UC by £20 to help struggling families ‘stay afloat’ during the Covid lockdown.

Councils call for tougher action on ruthless loan sharks


Council leaders are calling for tougher sentences for loan sharks who are pushing vulnerable people further into debt.

Charities warn millions of people in council tax arrears due to Covid-19


Over two million people have fallen behind on their council tax payments as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, debt charities have warned.

Government urged to fund council tax payment holidays for vulnerable households


The Government should provide councils with extra funding to offer payment holidays for people struggling to pay their council bill, according to Citizens Advice.

Debt collection needs reform, says think tank


Local government should follow the lead of the private sector when it comes to debt collection, the latest report from the Centre for Social Justice think tank has claimed.

Report uncovers high debt levels in Northern England and Wales


People living in large cities and towns in Northern England and Wales have the most debt and will be hit hardest by a post-Covid economic downturn, research has found.

Council suspends all debt-related court action in wake of coronavirus


Sandwell Council said it will not take any court action for debt against residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Council chiefs warn social care company debts are putting children's care ‘at risk’


Six of the 10 largest independent groups of providers of children’s care had more debts and liabilities than tangible assets last year, council leaders say.

Outdated regulations forcing councils to use 'harsh' debt collection processes


Forcing people to pay off their entire council tax bill if they miss one payment is pushing people into 'desperate' hardship, a charity has warned today.

New 60-day 'breathing space period' for those in problem debt


People in problem debt, including those that owe money to local authorities, are to get two months ‘breathing space’ under Government plans.

Universal Credit causing 'debt and destitution' charity warns


Universal Credit is driving vulnerable people to use loan sharks, a debt charity has warned today.

Charity blasts ‘broken’ debt collection system


Local authorities have been criticised for using bailiffs to collect unpaid council tax from struggling households.

Ombudsman criticises councils for how they chased historic business rate debts


Two London councils have been criticised by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for the way they tried to recover historic business rate debts.

Millions struggling to pay council tax and household bills, study finds


Nearly 1.6 million people are falling behind on their council tax payments, new research has revealed.

Ensuring the best debt collection journey


Andy Briscoe explains how councils can use data and analytics more effectively to improve the way they collect debt.

Universal Credit drives food bank use, charity says


A report from the main provider of food banks has warned that the roll out of Universal Credit has been a major factor behind the increase in food bank use.

Councils sent 2.6 million debts to bailiffs in just one year, charity reveals


Councils have substantially increased their use of bailiffs to collect debts over the last two years, a surge driven by a rise in parking debt referrals.

Councils call for tougher sentences for loan sharks


Council leaders have warned people not to use loan sharks after latest figures show debt advice enquiries have hit a record high.

Forced into aggressive debt collection?


With more households falling behind in council tax payments, are councils becoming too aggressive in the way they collect arrears? Neil Merrick investigates.

Over 500,000 social housing tenants in poverty due to smoking


Over half a million social housing tenants are living in poverty due to the cost of smoking, anti-smoking campaigners say.

Housing association calls for an end to the 5-week wait for UC payments


Housing association called for an end to the 5-week wait for Universal Credit payments after survey revealed two fifths of claimants forced to use food banks.

‘Unlawful’ council-owned cafe racks up £234,000 of debt


Auditors have criticised Connah’s Quay Town Council for failures in decision making and internal control in relation to its opening of a local cafe.

Households given two months 'breathing space' for problem debt


People will be protected from the 'devastating impact' of problem debt in a new scheme announced by the Government.

Union warns 130,000 people trapped in social care debt


Nearly 100,000 people are facing debt collectors over unpaid social care charges, an investigation has revealed.

Council to save £143m after ending LOBO loan


Newham Council is set to £143m after successfully terminating its Lender Option Borrower Option (LOBO) loans with NatWest bank.

Amount of unpaid council tax rises to £3bn


The total amount of unpaid council tax has risen to more than £3bn, according to the latest figures.

Whitehall pledges to end aggressive council tax debt collection


The way local authorities recover unpaid council tax is to be reviewed by the Government in a bid to protect vulnerable residents from aggressive debt collection.

Early intervention key to helping those at risk of falling into debt, says report


Councils in Wales are being urged by a think tank to do more to support those at risk of falling into debt given the large council tax increases on the horizon.

Universal Credit claimants are falling behind on housing payments warns Citizens Advice


A cut in the time people have to wait for payment of Universal Credit has made no difference to the number struggling with debt, according to campaigners.

Cuts to council tax support have created ‘sizeable’ increase in arrears


Cuts to council tax support (CTS) have led to a surge in unpaid tax, new research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies has revealed.

Nearly one in three council-run secondary schools are in the red


Almost one in three local authority maintained secondary schools were in a financial deficit in 2017-18, new research has revealed.

Campaigners calls for action on rule-breaking bailiffs


Campaigners are calling for action to stop bailiffs causing people increased stress, anxiety and financial hardship.

Care home provider on verge of collapse, regulators warn


The financial problems of one of the UK’s largest care providers poses ‘credible risk of service disruption’ to local provision of social care, regulators say

Kent CC pays back LOBO loan early


Kent County Council has reached an agreement with Royal Bank of Scotland to pay back its LOBO loan debt early.

Council chiefs blast Treasury decision to delay gambling reform


Local government leaders have said the decision to delay a planned reduction in the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals is ‘extremely concerning.’

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Addressing regional inequalities

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Banning urban pesticide use

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