The importance of clearing debt early in 2021.
Welcome to our blog series, exploring the key topics being discussed in the enforcement industry. In our latest blog, we discuss escalating debts over the festive period and how engaging early leads to better outcomes for all.
The ongoing disruption of COVID-19 has meant that Christmas celebrations have been far more subdued, but the reality is that many people risk getting into financial difficulty. It is also a fact that local authorities will be sending bills again next year, which are priority debts.
Therefore, CIVEA reiterate its advice that anyone struggling with debt should engage early with whoever they owe money to. This is the best way to resolve debt that prevents additional cost. The enforcement fee structure for outstanding debt is designed to keep costs lower for those who engage at the earliest stage. Enforcement firms invest heavily in tracing technology to identify and contact people who have unpaid debt. We recognise that people have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and may need additional support.
CIVEA members understand that the pandemic has caused many to face vulnerable circumstances and work with local authorities to help people in financial difficulty or in need of welfare support. In half of all enforcement cases, an affordable payment plan is arranged based on income and expenditure. Firms are constantly investing in tools to improve how individual circumstances are assessed. It is important to remember, however, that the continued existence of the pandemic is not a reason for those that can afford to pay off debts, to choose not to.
During the summer lockdown of 2020, most people continued to pay their repayment plans, suggesting that payments remained both fair and affordable. The furlough scheme, which has been extended well into 2021, benefited many people who were able to save money and clear existing debts. UK consumers actually repaid a record £7.4bn of debtduring the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020. If the start of 2021 represents a chance to clear existing debts, we encourage people to seek advice and resolve outstanding arrears as soon as possible.
It is also worth remembering the impact on funding for local authorities, who urgently need to support their communities’ most vulnerable households. Enforcement of outstanding debts enables local authorities to fund essential services and forms part of our social justice system in which we all have a duty to care for each other.
Anyone struggling to pay Council Tax should contact their local authority or speak to a seek free debt advice. You can find some useful links to free debt advice services below:
PO Box 745
If you wish to make a complaint against a member of CIVEA, please go to our complaints page and follow the procedure detailed there. Your email will be acknowledged within 5 working days.
CIVEA is unable to discuss complaint matters over the telephone and complaints should be sent in writing. This is to ensure that the details of your complaint are accurately recorded and understood which makes it easier in addressing your complaint thoroughly. Please advise if you have a disability, so that we can make reasonable adjustments.
You can contact us by email, letter or telephone.