Council urged to review debt collection
A UNISON representative has called on North Lincolnshire Council to look at the ways it collects outstanding council tax.
Unison representative Julian Corlett has called for the council to review its procedure when he learnt a vulnerable resident had been sent a letter from one of the authority's council tax recovery agents demanding payment in full or risk prison.
CALLS: Unision representative Julian Corlett has asked for a review in a bid to stop those who genuinely cannot afford their council tax payments facing legal action and possibly prison.
Mr Corlett said: "This particular letter was the first one received. Until that point he had no knowledge of arrears of council tax. The bank had cancelled the direct debit and they didn't let him know.
"This one instance made me express concern because it's not only one issue, the issues are cumulative.
"If there had been subsequent letters with greater severity that may be a different matter but this was the first consequence.
"At this time it was close to Christmas, around the anniversary of a family bereavement."
Earlier this month, the Telegraph reported that tax worth £1-million was to be written off by North Lincolnshire Council.
The letter, which claimed £383.90 was outstanding, read: "Your debt has been passed to us by the above client and we intend to recover the debt immediately.
"You can AVOID this being passed back to our client for consideration to apply for your COMMITTAL to PRISON."
Mr Corlett believes these demands are neither 'realistic nor sustainable' for residents who have regular out goings or young children.
A North Lincolnshire Council spokeswoman said: "When the council has made every effort it can to pursue unpaid debts it will delegate recovery to an external company.
"This decision is not taken lightly and only takes place after the council has tried contacting the debtor numerous times before."
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