Covid-19: Debt Collection Debate

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Department: Cabinet Office

Covid-19: Debt Collection

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Excerpts
Thursday 23rd July 2020

(2 months, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber
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Cabinet Office
Lord True Portrait Lord True - Hansard

Yes, a consistent understanding of the problems of debt using such techniques is extremely important. The regulations on council tax were promulgated, I believe, back in 1992—now a sort of Neanderthal age, when I was in No. 10. The Local Government Minister has announced that MCHLG will update its guidance to councils on collection and enforcement of council tax.

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait Baroness Morgan of Cotes (Con) [V] - Hansard

I am sure that my noble friend is hearing the strength of view on this issue. I hope that he has seen the letter that 55 cross-party Peers and Members of Parliament wrote to the Government at the end of May to support the CSJ report. Is there more that the Government could do, not just to encourage local authorities to show appropriate sensitivity in relation to these bills, but to require them to do so, given that local authorities themselves are asking the Government for restraint in chasing money that they owe the Government?

Lord True Portrait Lord True - Hansard

My Lords, I am of course hearing what noble Lords are saying and I endorse the principles of the Centre for Social Justice report. I am very proud of having done public service in local government. Local councils are custodians of their whole community and community interests. They should be sympathetic and act proportionately towards anyone in genuine hardship. I will reflect on the points that my noble friend has made and pass them on to colleagues in the department.