BATH, England, June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Council Tax Advisors, the organisation dedicated to helping those owing arrears to the council, forecast the government's abolition of Council Tax Benefits in April 2013 will increase the number of people owing arrears to local authorities by approximately 20% of the population in the UK, and in turn, those debtors vulnerable to bailiff action by approximately 25%.
Council Tax Advisors (CTA) is bracing itself to provide more support for those who face heavy-handed action from bailiffs, forecasting the number of calls asking for advice to increase by the thousands. With the number of people indebted to the council already at 4.7million, families and individuals nationwide will now have to deal with the consequences of imminent reforms.
As of April 2013, the government will abolish Council Tax Benefits (CTB) and fund local authorities to create their own Council Tax Support schemes as a replacement. However, these support schemes will receive 10% less funds from the government than the original CTB did.
Chris Richards, Managing Director of the Council Tax Advisors says "This budget reduction will hit the most disadvantaged parts of Britain. The cutback of funding in cash terms will be more drastic in areas where Council Tax Benefit spending is higher." The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimated that the reduction in financial support will range from around £5 per dwelling in the City of London to £38 per dwelling in the London Borough of Haringey.
CTA is committed to providing a solution to this growing modern problem. With a completely unique approach, they care for their clients with constant dedication. CTA's free advice, in the first instance, solves the problem in 60% of cases, dealing with situations diligently and swiftly. A comprehensive mediation service is also available at a maximum fee of £125.00, to resolve more difficult situations.
In 2011 and 2012, 24,698 problems with bailiffs were recorded by one advisory organisation, of which 90 per cent were about the enforcement of council tax arrears: the Council Tax Advisors predicts that this problem will continue to grow with the government's new stringent financial cuts.
Chris himself had a difficult personal experience in paying council arrears in December 2011. Originally owing £846 to the council in arrears, Chris ended up owing £16,000. This comprised enforcement fees, statuary fees, levy fees, storage fees and auction fees. Although he enquired for advice, Chris received no guidance from any advisory organisations,
Two bailiffs visited his property, despite an existing agreement with the bailiffs. After intimidating Chris, they removed his car, the removal cost amounted to £400. This caused serious problems with his employment as he relied on this for commuting. His health deteriorated, causing 10-15 panic attacks daily, and even had suicidal thoughts.
Chris' debt was finally cleared in January 2012 after an extensive dispute, in which one of the bailiffs who visited his house lost his license due to his actions. On regaining his health, Chris was determined to prevent these unjust incidents from happening to vulnerable individuals.
A currently customer of CTA, Garry Dring, didn't know where to begin when looking for help to his debt problem. Garry owed a total of £3,500 in arrears, which accumulated over the past two years. This was due to two major operations he had to undergo over the last 18 months.
After the bailiff company immediately dismissed his proposal for an affordable payment plan, Garry's property was attended by a bailiff who began to record the prices of his furniture and other items of property. Garry's health suffered as a result of the worrying circumstances: he became seriously anxious due to the stress imposed by the bailiff's action, and began suffering from insomnia.
After paying a small fee to the Council Tax Advisors, they directly dealt with the council and the bailiffs on behalf of Garry. The CTA immediately ensured that the payment plan that Garry had first suggested to the bailiffs was implemented: he now pays £180 each month, and will do for the next 1-2 years.
Garry was extremely pleased with their professional manner. After reassuring Garry, they listened to his circumstances and acted swiftly to provide him with immediate relief. Garry remarked, "I couldn't recommend them enough, it was completely worth the small fee for their services".
Gary Dickinson, CEO of the Christian Debt Line, who collaborates with CTA, has over 30 years experience in debt advice. Gary comments "We constantly monitor our website, and since 18 January 2013 it's had a quarter of a million impressions from search engine queries about council tax arrears, amounting to 2,000 clickthroughs to our website. As a charity, our resources are being hugely stretched, and our volunteers are working hard to provide guidance for as many people as possible.
The average debt of our callers is a shocking £16,521. I do not foresee any kind of improvement regarding debts owed to the council, particularly with the abolition of Council Tax Benefit in April 2013."
The Christian Debt Line deals with all manner of debt queries, not just Council Tax Arrears. The most common underlying cause for their cases is unjust bailiff action. Dickinson comments: "There is simply a lack of understanding among bailiffs as to the extent of their powers. Often they make legally unfounded demands, causing panic and anxiety among our callers."
With a mission to remove the use of bailiffs and heavy-handed action, CTA also works closely with the local authorities to eliminate the issue at its root.
Council Tax Advisors also assist with business rates arrears and can be contacted on our main business telephone number which is +44(0)1225-667-667.
For more information, visit http://www.counciltaxadvisors.co.uk
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SOURCE Council Tax Advisors Ltd