Hackney Council sends bailiffs round to more than 700 benefit claimants over missed council tax bills

The tour starts at Hackney Town Hall

The tour starts at Hackney Town Hall - Credit: Archant

The town hall sent bailiffs to more than 700 benefit claimants for missing council tax payments last year, it has been revealed.

The figures were published ahead of this week’s scrutiny commission meeting and come after the decision to bill all working-age households, regardless of income, at least 15 per cent of their bill, a move criticised by some.

The council’s use of bailiffs has reduced since 2014, when nearly 2,000 people were referred to enforcement agents.

In the past the government managed the Council Tax Support benefit. But in 2013 it devolved to councils and the budget was cut by 10pc, leading many to ask for minimum payments.

To stop people falling behind, Hackney has now introduced Stop the Knock, which aims to contact people who miss payments before bailiffs are called. But of the 83 cases referred, only 28 households paid in full. Enforcement letters have also been made easier to read with different fonts and colours.