Today in Parliament I asked the Justice Secretary about ethical debt collection, following questions from fellow Labour MPs Emma Reynolds and Rachel Reeves on rogue bailiffs. You can read their questions here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/…/19617573-9098…/RogueBailiffs, and mine here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/…/AE5AB7A5-1…/TopicalQuestions.
This follows new research from Citizens’ Advice, which found that one person every minute falls victim to a bailiff breaking the rules. This ranges from forcing entry into a home to removing goods needed for work. I fully support Citizens’ Advice’s call for the Ministry of Justice to establish an independent bailiff regulator to police this unacceptable behaviour, and take action against those breaking the rules. You can read Citizens’ Advice’s full report here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/…/a-law-unto-themselves-…/.
As I highlighted during my question, Bristol City Council is setting a brilliant example with its ethical debt collection policy, working with those who are struggling to develop payment plans and only deploying bailiffs as an absolute last resort. It is vital that we provide early intervention through money management services to help people before they go into debt, and I’m grateful to Deputy Mayor Craig Cheney and Councillor Paul Goggin for all their hard work on this policy, which you can read about here: https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/…/council-cut-back-heavy-hand….