Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/868/21319
From The Socialist newspaper, 2 September 2015
Two million bailiff calls as councils brutalise poor
Strong-arm tactics, photo by istolethetv (Creative Commons) (Click to enlarge)
In the past year, councils in England and Wales have sent bailiffs in to collect debts over two million times.
Ordinary working class people are struggling to get by. Zero-hour contracts, poverty pay and sky-high rents are the norm. Now we face the increasing threat of our own councils - including Labour - calling in the bailiffs!
The most vulnerable in society are being further penalised, and for what crime? Being poor!
Research by the Money Advice Trust shows using bailiffs not only worsens a person's wellbeing, but actually deepens debts. Elsewhere in this issue of the Socialist, ordinary people respond to lethal benefit cuts. Increased use of bailiffs - up around 16% over the past two years - can only make things worse.
Cuts to council tax benefit are a major contributing factor. Taking property to cover such debts is the reason for most bailiff calls, although in repossession cases they can also evict tenants.
Councils are blaming central government cuts for the increase. This, however, is no excuse.
Instead of doing the Tory government's dirty work, local authorities should refuse to pass on cuts. The Socialist Party says they must use their platform to lead residents and workers in a fightback.
Local campaigns have already taken it up. Attempted evictions, as a result of the bedroom tax, have been stopped by community campaigners coming together and refusing to let bailiffs in.
For instance, in Coventry, campaigners including Socialist Party members successfully stopped an eviction. The man was being forced out of his family home by the bedroom tax.
We have had successes like this elsewhere. Communities need to organise similar networks to defend themselves from bailiffs.
The chair of the Local Government Association's resources board, Labour councillor Claire Kober, reckons councils have tried to take a "sympathetic and constructive approach" to debtors. Sending bailiffs in is hardly sympathetic to the poor.
We don't want crocodile tears from councillors sending in bailiffs. We demand action to defend our communities.
- For councils which fight the cuts
- Stop attacking the poor with bailiffs
- Axe the bedroom tax
- For a mass programme of quality council home building
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
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In The Socialist 2 September 2015:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Killed by benefit cuts
Made-up benefit sanction quotes: Tory lies no surprise to us
Two million bailiff calls as councils brutalise poor
Bin crash tragedy shows pressure on sick to work
Greed: bosses hike rail fares three times faster than wages
Them & Us
"Unapologetic attack on austerity" at Southampton Corbyn rally
Socialist Party reports & campaigns
Nottinghamshire: don't close our mental health unit
Lincolnshire: save our schools!
Anger as promised women's museum becomes Ripper museum
International socialist news and analysis
Thailand plagued by military junta and downturn
International news in brief
Socialist Party features
Corbyn campaign: surges, purges and preparation
Youth Fight Austerity
Students attacked from all sides
Zimmerwald Conference 1915: lessons for the socialist movement
Workplace news and analysis
Join the NSSN lobby of TUC Congress
Rail and PCS strikers rally together
London tube workers force bosses to move
Royal Mail union rep sacked - reinstate John now!
'Pay the rate' construction protests continue on Teesside
Bioscientists' strike forces management's climbdown
Indesit strikers determined to press on for acceptable deal
Workplace news in brief
Socialist Party comments and reviews
Rejected by Labour bureaucrats
Nuclear Secrets: a dangerous dead end
Obituary: Anne Ullah Khan
The Socialist 2 September 2015 |
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