On universal credit owes council tax and the bailiffs keep banging on my door. This weeks blog.

Dear readers it appears that winter is most definitely on the way. Today was very cold and wet a deadly combination for street homeless people and people that can’t afford to heat their home.

Sadly I also know what it feels like when the electric goes and you can’t top it up. Solidarity with all those in the same position, its not one bit enjoyable. Anyway I digress.

Today there was a lot of people waiting for the food parcels to arrive. Each and every one of these food parcels were needed and some of those collecting them hadn’t ate properly for a while.

It’s easy to fall between the cracks of society and not deemed important enough to help. Many don’t like to ask for help because they don’t feel that they’re deserving of it. Some are barred from local organisations for various different reasons. This makes life very hard for them. Others have had their allowed three foodbank vouchers and have been refused anymore. Can you imagine being in their position?

My first conversation was with a man that I’ve been talking to every week. He usually brings his dog when he collects his food parcel, his dog is lovely and he takes really good care of him. He told me that he’s hoping that his latest job application is successful and I gave him my best wishes. He deserves so much better than this.

After I handed out the food parcels a young woman asked me of she could speak to me privately. She told me that her health isn’t good at the moment and being homeless doesn’t help, telling me that later today she will be going to the walk in centre to hopefully get some medication. I gave her some money for a phone charger because her phone is her lifeline not only to the DWP but to her children and friends.

I really hope that she’s ok because she’s really not well at all.

Today we had various conversations about lots of different things, one matter kept popping up and that was council tax payments and visits from bailiffs.

I gave the best advice that I could but its awful when the person that you’re speaking to is crying because they’re scared. I was speaking to a lovely woman that told me she was absolutely terrified of the bailiffs banging on her door and windows.

It’s very easy for someone to fall into council tax arrears and a universal credit application was to blame in this case. Because of the long wait for her universal credit payment to be processed she fell into arrears with just about everything.

After her latest bailiff visit she went into the council offices to see if she could arrange a payment plan with her. Their answer was a flat no. No they wouldn’t help, no they wouldn’t stop the bailiffs from coming. Even though she was offering a reasonable repayment plan they denied her any assistance. They did however tell her to go to citizens advice and ‘they might’ be able to contact the council tax department.

This has not helped her one bit,she’s living in fear and she’s scared. I gave her some sound advice and told her that she can contact me if she needs to.

Although I am very aware of what the council can and can’t do in situations like this their refusal to help speaks volumes doesn’t it. So many people live in fear of bailiffs coming to their homes and sometimes barging in.

This shouldn’t be happening. The current council tax scheme is a punishing system. It .demands that people pay an unreasonable amount of money when they can’t afford it.

Council also costs more to implement than what local councils gain from it. It’s not working and this system needs to stop asap.

No one should be living in fear in their own homes, scared when the bailiffs come banging on doors and windows or barging their way into their home.

I’m also very aware of the laws surrounding council tax so please no comments saying that I don’t know how the system works. I know only too well how it works and I’ve been campaigning against it for years now.

I had a conversation with a lovely young man, he asked me what we were doing and I replied. He told me that he really didn’t know anything about politics but he’d like to learn more. We had a good chat and hopefully he will be more aware in the future.

This did raise my concern about the lack of public education regarding politics. It’s not taught as much in school as it should be and many people, like this young man aren’t as aware as they should be.

We need to educate those that aren’t aware by conversation but I believe that children should be given some political education whilst at school.

I then had a second conversation regarding council tax, and not long after another. I offered some advice and signposted to the best of my ability.

We then had a long conversation with a woman who’s homeless. She was worried because she needs to change her care of address but didn’t want to be thrown onto universal credit as a result.

To say shes scared and worried is an understatement. The words universal credit often cause people to panic. John was extremely helpful and helped this lovely woman whilst I was helping someone else. We did everything in our power to help her but thank you John.

I can’t thank the team enough today, the weather was awful but that didn’t prevent us from helping lots of people. We will be back again next week, please come and join us!

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Thank you to everyone that has done already.

Thank you to those that do support my blog, your help enables the campaign and the blog to continue.

There’s a paypal button at the top and side of this blog post if anyone would like to donate. Thank you so much.

6 thoughts on “On universal credit owes council tax and the bailiffs keep banging on my door. This weeks blog.”

  1. It’s a few years ago now since the Council of Europe said that UK Benefits were being underpaid by 40%, and were in the process of taking the British Government to Court in Strasbourg over it, though the Tories didn’t take a blind bit of notice and I heard no more about it (perhaps Brexit got in the way?). Since then we’ve had the Benefits freeze and the Benefits Cap, so by now I reckon our Benefits are being underpaid by at least 45% if not more. Add to that the fact that we now also have to pay (some) Council Tax out of our Benefits, that is in effect a further cut. The effects of all this are really starting to bite. My JSA goes nowhere and I (along with many others) am really struggling to survive. I have a week to go to my next JSA payment and have just 3 quid left in the Bank. I’ve paid my Council Tax but my Water bill is due to be paid today but I haven’t got it (£9.70 per fortnight). I think I’ve got just about enough food to last out til next Friday, but am likely to run out of margerine, milk, coffee, sugar. I think /hope I’ll have just about enough toilet roll and cat food to get by. Obviously I won’t have any baccy for roll-ups so it’ll be fag-ends out of the street if it ever stops raining. Then I’ll get my JSA and it all starts over again, scraping through from one fortnight to another. It would be much worse if I was on monthly Universal Credit though. Meanwhile the Tories continue to look after their Millions they have stashed away in off-shore Investments and dodgy foreign Banks, and the Lords get their £300 per day pocket money, and the rest of us starve or sink deeper into debt and arrears. The mainstream media focus on Brexit at the expense of everything else and nobody cares, life goes on like nothing’s wrong.

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    1. In a similar situation myself Trev. Albeit a 65yr old ESA claimant hanging on for dear life until her pension belatedly comes through in a year’s time. It is the council tax liability I particularly resent – being expected to pay it out of £73.10 pw when a few years ago this wouldn’t have been the case. All JSA/ESA claimants are paid the same £73.10 to live on but the amount of council tax they are liable to pay can vary enormously depending on the borough and the type of property so it is an extremely unfair tax.
      I’ve just paid my council tax and water and put £5 on the gas (left me with credit of only £2 though as most went to pay back the emergency credit), which leaves me with £10 till next week, which will no doubt go on more gas, milk and bread. The only reason I was able to do any of this at all was because I found some old Euro notes from a long ago holiday and took them to the post office to exchange. If it hadn’t been for that I’d be having a very cold and miserable weekend and another menacing “reminder” from the council telling me that as I’ve had 2 already I now lose my right to pay by monthly installments and the entire balance of my Council Tax has to be paid immediately…

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      1. I sympathise as I know the feeling, but that’s why I always try to pay the Council Tax if nothing else (mine is £18 per month on a grotty one bed flat with hardly any heating, in a bad area with lots of crime). I think I can get away with paying the Water a week late. Luckily the Electric is not due this fortnight but I have also had to pay my monthly phone payment. I don’t have any Gas now since it was cut off due to a leak a couple of winters ago, which never got fixed. I have a portable electric heater that has just stopped working this afternoon. Got another electric heater fitted in the fireplace in place of the redundant gas fire but it has a cut-out and keeps switching itself off when it feels like it, has a mind of its own! No heating at all in kitchen or bedroom, and there is no proper bathroom, just a toilet & washbasin in a sort of walk-in cupboard in the bedroom, and a shower in another cupboard in the kitchen. Rent is £80 p/w but Housing Benefit pays it.

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  2. You are so right. There used to be safety nets in place because we are not all the same shape or size. Such as the social fund which was robbed by G Osborne of £2.5 billion. as he left the HoC. Then there was a housing law that stated that the landlord had to find the tenant a place of equal worth and size before they could be evicted. If we are to leave the current broken system in place any longer we shall have thousands of people ove the age of 65 in the private rented sector also homeless.

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