Herts Children Scared By Council Tax Bailiffs

26 March 2015, 07:17 | Updated: 26 March 2015, 07:34

A children's charity says thousands of children in Hertfordshire are being left traumatised by bailiffs being sent to their homes to chase unpaid council tax.

The Children's Society says more than 25,000 families here have experienced council tax debt.

It says children are left frightened and worried, and often leaves them not being able to sleep at night.

Sherry Peck, East of England Area Director for The Children's Society, said: "Our report reveals that far too many families are failed by their council when they fall behind with their council tax. Councils are more likely to refer a family in council tax debt to a bailiff than to an independent debt advisor, which is not acceptable.

"Bailiffs should simply not be sent round to families with children. Instead, councils should give struggling residents a chance to negotiate affordable repayments, and make sure every family in trouble is offered independent debt advice. Every child and teenager deserves to feel safe in their own home without being scared of the next knock at the door."

One mum in council tax debt spoke of her inability to hide the impact of her debts from her children. She told us: "They just knew that mummy was stressed and there were strange people at the door wanting things and most of the furniture and that got taken at that point."

Councils say they only use bailiffs as a last resort.