Coun­cils get tough over un­paid rates

Burton Mail - - Bygones -

COUN­CILS have started draft­ing in bailiffs again to se­cure un­paid busi­ness rates from com­pa­nies, days af­ter the Chan­cel­lor set out the lat­est phase of the Govern­ment’s plan to pro­tect jobs.

Bailiffs had been put on hold from en­forc­ing the col­lec­tion of out­stand­ing busi­ness rates from troubled busi­nesses af­ter the lock­down was man­dated in March.

How­ever, they were given the go-ahead to restart en­force­ment ac­tion from the start of this month, in a move which could pile fur­ther pres­sure on strug­gling high street firms.

Bailiffs are in­structed by coun­cils once a li­a­bil­ity or­der has been ob­tained in mag­is­trates’ court to col­lect out­stand­ing busi­ness rates and will be able to en­ter busi­nesses to seize goods and sell these at auc­tion to set­tle the debt.

Derby City Coun­cil, one of the coun­cils to have re­sumed en­force­ment, said it has “sev­eral thou­sand busi­ness ratepay­ers who are be­hind with their pay­ments”.

A spokesman for the coun­cil added: “The coun­try is steadily mov­ing out of lock­down and a de­ci­sion has been taken to re­sume reg­u­lar op­er­a­tion and to restart re­cov­ery ac­tions again to help the city in its Covid-19 re­cov­ery ef­fort”.

The Civil En­force­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, the trade body for bailiffs, said last month that it had con­sulted the Govern­ment on a “post-lock­down sup­port plan”.

Rus­sell Hamblin-boone, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the CIVEA, said: “En­force­ment of pub­lic debt con­tin­ues to be an im­por­tant ser­vice to re­cover out­stand­ing taxes and fines, which con­trib­utes to fund­ing es­sen­tial lo­cal ser­vices.”

Around 310 non-do­mes­tic prop­er­ties every work­ing day were re­ferred to bailiffs by lo­cal coun­cils hav­ing fallen into ar­rears with their busi­ness rates dur­ing the 2018/19 fi­nan­cial year, ac­cord­ing to es­tate ad­viser Al­tus Group.

Robert Hay­ton, head of UK busi­ness rates at Al­tus Group, said: “It beg­gars be­lief that coun­cils are es­sen­tially un­der­min­ing the Govern­ment’s ef­fort to stim­u­late the economy and does noth­ing to help the re­cov­ery.

“It is hasty and un­help­ful to in­dis­crim­i­nately en­force tax debts right at the mo­ment that busi­nesses are mak­ing the first ten­ta­tive steps to re­turn to the new nor­mal.

“Coun­cils must al­low time for these busi­nesses to re­turn to profit or risk trig­ger­ing a wave of oth­er­wise un­nec­es­sary busi­ness fail­ures un­do­ing the Chan­cel­lor’s plan for jobs.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.