Debt Justice and the Unfair Debt Group Tower Hamlets are calling for an end to the use of debt collection bailiffs.
LocalLocal democracyNews

Campaigners call for Tower Hamlets to end use of debt collection bailiffs 

The Tower Hamlets Unfair Debt Group wants politicians to commit to tackling the ‘debt crisis’ in the borough.

The Unfair Debt Group is calling on the Council and candidates in the May 2 local elections to commit to ending the use of debt collection bailiffs.

The Council uses bailiffs to enforce the collection of council tax and parking fine debts, says the Tower Hamlets-based campaign group. 

Yesmin Begum from the Unfair Debt Group says bailiffs are ‘cruel, outdated and ineffective.’

Begum works with people struggling with debt. A story that has stayed with her is about a man who lost his housing benefit due to a simple paperwork error. 

The man couldn’t read in English, which meant he wasn’t able to figure out why the problem had occurred. 

He got a second job to try and pay his bills. He managed to keep up his rent payments, but his debt spiralled. He ended up living in the dark with no power.

Begum was able to resolve the man’s debt problems. But she says: ‘There are so many gaps that need to be filled in.’ 

Banning bailiffs is the first step towards a solution, according to Begum.

She says: ‘If you know that the bailiffs are out to get you, every knock on the door, even if it’s your husband coming home from work, is a scare.’

The campaign group wants candidates for the City & East London Assembly seat to tackle the ‘debt crisis’ in Tower Hamlets by committing to banning their use. 

Tower Hamlets has the fourth-worst debt problem of any borough in the UK, according to the Money & Pension Service. 

Almost a third of residents in Tower Hamlets need debt advice, 32.48% in the constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow and 29.84% in Poplar and Limehouse.

Begum says: ‘London is at the centre of the debt crisis in our country, and it is time our elected representatives enabled more people weighed down by debt to access fairer debt solutions.’

These solutions include making sure everyone can access free debt advice and better early intervention for people vulnerable to spiralling debt, say Debt Justice, a campaign group which works with the Unfair Debt Group.

They also want to ensure that everyone can meet essential costs, such as food, energy and housing, without being pushed into debt. 

If you are affected by debt you can find more information at Debtjustice.org.uk and Twitter.com/unfairdebtgroup.

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy our series examining the slow disappearance of the Bengali language in Tower Hamlets.

Please support local journalism.

As a social enterprise using constructive journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or subscription fee as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.

We are a tiny team of four covering Whitechapel and Tower Hamlets, relying entirely on member donations.Hundreds of members have already joined. Become a member to donate as little as £3 per month to support constructive journalism and the local community.

One thought on “Campaigners call for Tower Hamlets to end use of debt collection bailiffs 

  • Good to raise awareness of this. Thanks for your article.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.