Debtors Living in Fear of Enforcement Agents, Says Citizens Advice
August 21, 2018
Citizens Advice has called on lawmakers to do more to protect struggling debtors who find themselves living in fear of enforcement agents.
The charity has said that its teams deal with people who have issues with bailiffs, or sheriff officers as they’re known in Scotland, at an average rate of once every three minutes.
Estimates also suggest that people in England and Wales are collectively carrying £18.9 billion worth of debts related to essential household expenses, such as council taxes or utility bills.
Many thousands of people across Scotland are also finding it difficult or impossible to cover their essential outgoings every month and the consequences can often be a visit from a sheriff officer.
Citizens Advice operates across the UK and is concerned that a growing number of Brits are being badly affected by issues with enforcement agents when they can’t pay their bills.
The charity points out that MPs in Westminster recently described government bodies and local authorities as being the “worst in class” in terms of how they go about taking enforcement actions against indebted individuals or households.
Citizens Advice has also noted that while handling debt issues involving consumer credit deals can be very difficult, these problems can actually be much worse when they involve energy suppliers, council taxes or rent arrears.
For many people, situations involving sheriff officers can have highly damaging consequences and lead potentially to worsening debt woes and mental health problems.
According to Citizens Advice, the proportion of people who approach its teams for debt advice relating to essential outgoings has been on the rise since 2011.
“One person every 3 minutes come to us for help with bailiff issues. Families are living in fear of a visit from the bailiffs, and small missed bills can skyrocket through excessive enforcement fees,” said Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice chief executive.
“Our evidence shows aggressive tactics by bailiffs cause huge distress and can even push people further into debt. Families are going without essentials like food or electricity to meet their payments.”
If you live anywhere in Scotland and you’re worried about your personal debt situation then Scotland Debt Solutions can help. Contact us directly to arrange a FREE and confidential consultation.