Skip to main content


Is Council Tax really Poll Tax? Where is the Momentum for a new campaign?

 ‘I have not been able to pay my council tax for last four years. Bailiffs have lied to me to get money from me. I still can’t afford it!’ says Joanna Robinson on Money Matters show on East London Radio in March 2018. During the period 2016-17, bailiffs were used by councils on nearly 1.5 million occasions in order to attempt recovery of council tax arrears. As in Joanna's case, residents were summoned to court for being too poor to pay - accruing court costs, subjected to the ignominy and anxiety having to face enforcement agents, and already too poor to pay, further indebtedness .  As I hear the horror stories of bailiff’s knocking on debtors’ doors under the new Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS), I am beginning to worry that the Scheme is really just a Poll Tax rehash.
I was too young to remember what the Poll Tax was when it was first introduced in the late 1980s. My parents never spoke about it. In my work I started to notice from 2013 onwards that more debtors were seeking …
Recent posts

Christmas is over - what responsibilities do creditors have now?

I noticed how busy members of staff at the London Community Credit Union (LCCU) were during the Christmas festive period. They were very equipped for the season by hiring extra staff. Creditors undeniably know that the period leading up to Christmas is one of their busiest. During the same period, for me, as a debt adviser, its one of the quietest. 
Why is it so busy for them and least busy for me? The answer lends itself to supply and demand theory: consumers are borrowing to put Christmas presents underneath Christmas trees for their loved ones and spending on parties leading up to the New Year and holidays. In such an atmosphere, consumers are less likely to think about their debts but more likely to spend - spend - spend. The unwritten policy held by lenders during this time is to open their doors to borrowers to accommodate their seasonal borrowing habit. There is no doubt profit to be made on the return for credit.
The Bank of England states that on average a typical household in …

Non-British nationals face harsh penalty for non-payment of debts

If you are a non-British national, trying to ascertain your rights in the United Kingdom can be a difficult process, perhaps more so than if you are a British national.  In addition, your immigration status will also affect the support that you may receive from the Welfare State. For example, non-payment of an unforeseen medical bill may have negative consequences for decisions relating to applications for British Citizenship.
Britain is currently negotiating an exit from the European Union as a direct result of the implementation of Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union. Thus far European Economic Area (EEA) citizens have the right to settle in the UK if they have already lived in the country for five years. Many of the EEA nationals are, to a degree, entitled to welfare support so long as they meet a number of tests, including the draconian Habitual Residence test. Once the tests have been met, they are entitled to benefits on the same terms as if they were British citizens.…

Tough times continue for those with disabilities

There has been some improvement in the way disability is perceived by the general public. However, we still have a long way to go to address issues for those with disabilities in terms of access to services and with managing financial difficulties. 

A survey conducted by Scope, a national disability charity, indicated that the percentage of disabled students bullied at school declined from 47% in 1994 to 38% in 2014. However, the same survey found that there had been an increase in the percentage of those with disabilities turned away from public places from 34% in 1994 to 49% in 2014. A similar concern arose in terms of those with disabilities expressing concerns about being unable to makes ends meet - 39% in 1994 rising to 49% in 2014. 

Many have turned to the use of credit cards and loans to pay for essential items such as food and clothing. There has also been considerable use of food banks to meet basic nutritional need. It is well documented evidence that those with disabilities s…

Be guarded in times of austerity by being careful with your money!

Who would have thought that in the 21st century we would be having a conversation about whether to get a voucher for a foodbank or not because we are too poor to buy food. According to the Trussell Trust, which runs a network of over 400 foodbanks, 1 in 20 people in Britain have gone without meals because they are unable to afford food, 14% of Britain has cut down on the amount of fresh food they buy in order to save money and 1 in 50 people have used food banks.

Although the data does show the state of the nation via a vis the use of food banks, the real challenge faced by those so impoverished has been caused by many factors. Some have argued the problem has been caused by ‘austerity’. Austerity’ as per Merriam-Webster is as:
‘Enforced or extreme economy especially on a national scale’
The definition maybe seen as resembling the state of Britain under the current conservative administration whereby there has been a substantial adjustment in public expenditure such that it has had a pr…

Shame no more to talk about domestic abuse and money trouble!

Silence can be a deadly killer for women of domestic abuse and instead of just hindering their recovery it could lead to their fatality.  According to the Office of National Statistics (2015), two women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner in a relationship.  

The definition of domestic abuse has been expanded in recent times by legislation:
an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence.

Julia Oviedo, a victim and survivor of domestic abuse, shared her personal experience on ‘In Conversation with Ripon Ray…the Community Money Matters Show’ on Betar Bangla Radio. It may seem just another story to many listeners but for an individual to talk about such a personal experience requires bravery, confidence and the will to encourage other victims to come forward and share their experiences.In her case, it was physical violence which she feared the most from her ex-husband…

A debt free path for a mental health sufferer

It’s a well-known fact that individuals who suffer from a hampered mental capacity - be it mental health or learning difficulties - are most likely to be vulnerable in our communities. They are also more likely to be victims of miss-sold products and services by companies, even though organisations that are providing financial products and services have a duty under the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to take extra care towards these individuals.
This is what the FCA has to say about vulnerable customers:
‘ The vulnerability of the customer, in particular where the firm understands the customer has some form of mental capacity limitation or reasonably suspects this to be so because the customer displays indications of some form of mental capacity limitation (see ■ CONC 2.10)
But due to a culture of intensive selling to consumers, generated by employers placing and enforcing - often difficult and unrealistic - performance goals which are attached to tempting bonus schemes, their employe…