Council Tax Bill / Loan encouragement from Southwark Council

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Kory Saturday 19 January 2013 6.28pm
Hello Lovely SE1 ers - Hope you are warm.
I was very alarmed to receive a small so called arrears bill of just over 9.00 for my council tax- this in it's self not remarkable. I once or twice a year get this bill- but the council cannot tell me where this arrears occurred- as my council tax is on dd up todate etc- just that they say I owe it but can not say why???
However what I found alarming- and has never happened before- that they enclosed literature regarding taking out a loan - I presume to cover their arrears. Indeed it was explaining the benefits of a credit union over a doorstep lender- but I have to say I was shocked. I know for a fact alot of CT Arrears are caused by CT Benefit not being paid properly as it should be etc but even so to encourage people to go into more debt I think is appalling. I am not saying credit unions are bad- but debt is debt.
Rant over.

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Zoe Saturday 19 January 2013 8.30pm
They send this literature with all sorts of bills, it's to encourage people to use credit unions and other responsible lenders and not use loan sharks. I think it's a good awareness raising campaign.
Kory Saturday 19 January 2013 8.37pm
I see that point but surely to encourage people into more debt is wrong , they can pay for eg their CT off installments- rather than a loan company-even a responsible one like a credit union.
I guess I am a bit appalled as the lit- suggests a 400
loan in with a bill of 9.00in my case ( though as you say Zoe they prob. just stuck it in as they do with all sorts)
I do see the point of credit unions but I don't see the point of encoraging more debt, if you can't pay off installments to CT, you cannot afford the payments to a credit union either ( though of course preferable to a loan shark)
Neil Sunday 20 January 2013 9.22pm
While I can see the argument that in the case of any (legitimate) council tax arrears a rescheduling of the debt makes more sense than taking out a loan; I am still encouraged that the Council is going to lengths to highlight the benefits of the local Credit Union. People struggling to pay council tax bills may well have other debts and being able to go to the Credit Union (capped at 2% interest per month, I think) instead of payday loan companies (often 1,000%+ per annum) must have its advantages in general.
Kory Sunday 20 January 2013 11.36pm
I agree Neil- but I was shocked to be suggested literature of a 400 loan from a credt union- payments of 8.00 a month- on my supposed 9.00 debt. Surely it would be better is the situation warrented to arrange an 8.00 payment on arrears monthly to the CT or less

I also totally see the point that credit unions are preferable to any doorsep Lenders. Just a bit odd
that they are promoting a loan- without discussing an arrears payment to the CT.Of course
it is good Southwark Council are letting people know about credit unions- but are these unions also paying them to include their literature in the council's arrears bills?
There is most likely a good intention here- but in my opinion not a very well executed one.
Zoe Monday 21 January 2013 8.11am
I think the literature is standard and not related to the size of the bill (as the arrears letter are automated, there is no one doing a sense check prior to sending them). I am pretty sure that Southwark Credit Union are not charged to send their literature out, as the Council supports the principle of a credit union.

SCU is not profit making, it's not the same as a bank or those companies offering the small loans for massive interest rates.

Also, as I said before, the literature is sent out in all sorts of Council letters and I don't think it is suggesting that you take out a loan rather than making an arrangement to clear the arrears. There should be something on the bill letter itself that says what to do if you are having problems paying the bill.
Kory Monday 21 January 2013 10.55am
Zoe- these may be all the intentions but how it appears in actuality is you open an (suposed) arrears bill- you have literature on how to take up a loan. I have no doubt scu is totally legitimate and fair- but I am not sure Southwark Council would waste the opp. not to make money from including their info in it's mail.
As I said in my original post- CT arrears are often caused ( amd in my past experience) with CT Benefit not being honnoured, anomalies- or not being able to catch up if signing on and off JSA for work for short periods ( if your job lasts less than 5 weeks you cannot apply for CT when working or a handover period to ease you in) where you automatically lose at least a weeks benefits either side of that working period .if the work was low paid- it can be difficult for people to ever catch up. In that in many cases SC will be including- if it puts it in everything- loan info to cover these mistakes /anomalies
I am sure the intention is good as I said- but I don't think well thought through or loans should cover SC's mistakes.


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