Thousands of Hackney residents affected by benefits cut

PUBLISHED: 16:00 15 August 2015

General view of a council tax bill.

General view of a council tax bill.

PA Archive/PA Images

Thousands of Hackney’s poorest families are struggling to pay bills following cuts to council tax support, according to new figures published by two leading London anti-poverty charities.

According to a report by Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and Z2K, 9,227 low income residents in the borough are in arrears with their council tax while 1,115 have been referred to bailiffs.

The report evaluates the first year in operation of the new scheme where residents must pay at least 15 per cent of the council tax on their property in Hackney, where certain benefits claimants were previously exempt.

Joanna Kennedy, chief executive of Z2K said the use of bailiffs was “scandalous”.

A referral to a bailiff adds £75 onto a claimant’s debt, followed by a further £235 on the first visit.

Ms Kennedy said: “The use of bailiffs against low income households is a deeply questionable practise and their outrageous fees only serve to drive claimants deeper into debt or the arms of unscrupulous pay day lenders.

“We know the Mayor and councillors face tough choices in the face of budget cuts but we urge them to look again at these charges and refrain from using bailiffs against low income households.”

A council spokesman said: “The council does not take the decision to use enforcement agents (formally known as bailiffs) lightly. The council will have contacted non-payers a number of times to try to avoid court action. Once a summons is issued, customers are invited to attend special surgeries to allow them to discuss their case and agree payment methods.

1 comment

  • It is worth pointing out that the Council Tax Support Scheme administered locally by individual Local Authorities. Hackney charge people on low incomes or benefits a whopping 15% whereas neighbouring Islington charge a more modest 8.5%. In fact, of the 326 English local authorities, 82 do not charge people who previously qualified for full Council Tax Benefit anything at all - zero %. This begs the question as to why Hackney Council - not the government - are choosing to penalise the poorest in the borough?

    Report this comment

    Titus Groan

    Sunday, August 16, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Latest Hackney Stories


In an article from our ‘Year in Sport’ pullout, the other teams in the Six Nations have their chances previewed


Police want to speak to this man after a woman was sexually assaulted while walking home from a night out in the Finsbury Park area.

Yesterday, 18:30

Everton have completed the signing of Theo Walcott from Arsenal in a deal worth £20 million on a three-and-a-half year contract.

Yesterday, 18:03

Shedding further light on illegal schools remains a chief priority for Hackney Council in the face of criticism from the Jewish community.

Yesterday, 15:31

When I gave up meat as a first-year student, I did so not just because of nascent first-world guilt about the environment and factory farming, but because it was cheaper.

Yesterday, 15:00

Spurs have won eight of their last 10 games in all competitions and suffered just one defeat during that period - at the Etihad last month

Yesterday, 14:30

The team at Newington Green’s popular Alma has opened a new pub, Be-Bop-A-Lula, in Green Lanes. It’s great. James Morris isn’t surprised.

Yesterday, 13:02

In an article from our ‘Year in Sport’ pull-out, we look back on Leyton Orient’s 2017 and explain why this year provides renewed hope

Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists