Children 'frightened' by bailiffs chasing unpaid council tax, claims new report

Most children were at home when debt collectors arrived Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Councils in the West Midlands sent bailiffs to chase unpaid council tax more than 172,000 times last year.

According to a new report by The Children's Society, council tax debt in the West Midlands is prevalent. The Children's Society estimate that around 147,000 children in the region are living in homes which have fallen into debt.

Other findings reveal that most children have been at home when bailiffs have arrived at the home, leaving them in a 'frightened' or 'worried' mood.

According to the report, children who have experienced a visit from the bailiffs are less likely to ask their parents for things they want for fear of putting their parents under financial strain.

Birmingham, Sandwell and Coventry were found to have the highest proportion of children living in families who have experienced debt in the West Midlands.

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.

Rob Willoughby, The Children's Society