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Working families are ‘more likely to be chased by bailiffs’

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More than 1 in 5 people visited by bailiffs are working parents, new figures from Citizens Advice reveal.

The charity analysed 13,444 people between January and March who had been pursued by a bailiff and found that parents were more likely to have bailiffs knocking at the door chasing debts than any other household.

The study found there was little divide between in work and unemployed families as 46% had jobs compared to 54% who were unemployed.

Citizens Advice helped 38,262 people with over 60,000 bailiff problems between April 2012 and March 2013, a third of which were for council tax debts.

The North East accounted for a sixth of all bailiff problems handled by Citizens Advice Bureaux across England and Wales.

One in 25 problems in the North East were to do with bailiffs compared to just 1 in 100 in the South West.

Evidence also found that private bailiffs frequently overstated their powers, acted aggressively and bumped up debts by levying excessive and illegal fees and charges.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “The prospect of a bailiff knocking at the door of a family home is terrifying for anyone, particularly parents with kids at home. Mums and Dads don’t want their children to know about their money worries, but when a person is standing on their doorstep demanding money, it is unavoidable and frightening for all of the family.

“The fact that working parents are being hounded by bailiffs for debts is a worrying reflection on today’s living standards. Hard-working households are racking up debts just to get by.”

Earlier this year the Government announced plans to clamp down on rogue bailiffs from April 2014 including banning bailiffs from entering homes at night or when only children are present.