Post office criticises ‘heavy-handed’ use of bailiffs by council

A COUNCIL has been slammed for “sending in the heavies” to a post office just days late in paying its business rates.

Thurrock Council was also branded “hypocritical” after it emerged the authority took the heavy-handed action, despite itself owing £245,000 to a South Ockendon-based building firm for work carried out last December.

Panchalingam Kirupaharan, the owner of the post office in Corringham Road, Stanford-leHope, was fivedays latepaying his monthly business rates to the authority.

Rather than being contacted by council staff about his late payment, the authority promptly sent in the bailiffs to the shock of staff.

They not only demanded payment, but said the post office had to pay £4,000 up front to cover its rates for the rest of the year.

Shilpa Patel, who works at the post office, said: “It wasasurprise to see someone come through the door to try to close us down, but we wouldn’t shut. I phoned the owner who spoke with the council and a resolution was reached. I don’t know if it was necessary to send the bailiffs and I hope it won’t happen again.”

Mr Kirupaharan called the council to settle his late bill over the phone after the visit from bailiffs, last Friday.

Shane Hebb, Tory ward councillor for Stanford West, launched a scathing attack on Thurrock Council and said its actions smacked of hypocrisy.

He said: “Undeniably, one would expect businesses to pay on time.

I’m on board with that, and have said so to the local post office.

“However, for this council to launch bailiffs on to our struggling small businesses, when it isn’t paying its own bills on time – 90 days on some occasions – it smacks of rank hypocrisy.

“This shouldn’t have happened in the first place. If someone pays late, you call them and ask if there has been a problem and ask what can be done to help the payment process speed up.

“You do not send the heavies round, demanding a £4,000 bulk payment, becauseasmall business is a few days late in paying.

“Labour has absolutely nailed its colours to the mast again.

“It campaigned on a platform of supporting small businesses and is now doing its best to prosecute small businesses.

“It is clear its commitments mean nothing.”

In a coup for the community post office, the bailiffs have since been pulled from the case and Thurrock Council will be speaking to the owners to explain expectations about payment deadlines and offer advice.

A council spokesman said: “Thurrock Council will not discuss detailed issues about individuals. However, this matter is now resolved.”

Comments (3)

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8:06am Sat 10 Aug 13

Sharcuk says...

It annoys me that politicians continue to give the impression that councils act unreasonably as soon as a business is a couple of days late with a payment. In order to use bailiffs to collect a business rates debt, the council must first follow a strict legal process, which includes a bill, reminder, often a final notice and a summons. They will often then negotiate an alternative payment arrangement with the business. It's only when this arrangement fails that bailiffs are used.
It annoys me that politicians continue to give the impression that councils act unreasonably as soon as a business is a couple of days late with a payment. In order to use bailiffs to collect a business rates debt, the council must first follow a strict legal process, which includes a bill, reminder, often a final notice and a summons. They will often then negotiate an alternative payment arrangement with the business. It's only when this arrangement fails that bailiffs are used. Sharcuk
  • Score: 2

11:18am Sun 11 Aug 13

maxell says...

there is somthing not quite right here as bailifts cannot just be sent in to collect, this would have needed to go to court and judgment must be in favor of the (in this case) the council , then they have right to collect, they could however sell the debt on a private baillif company, but this is noemally a t a rduced cost so in effect the council would loose money, or of course they could just instruct bailliffs to visit the property just to simply intimidate and if cahallenged would have no right whatsoever to enforce, I must also say the foregion property owners have created this reputation of defalting on payments I am suer there are is an equal amout of english people who do the same , so maybe this has happened in the past hence it only takes a small amount of encouragment for anypayments to be collected,

As for the coucillor he came over as being reasonable untill he showed how imature he was by voicing a verbal attack on other political parties I wonder if the whips say heres a pund for any attack you could put on other parties grow up !!!
there is somthing not quite right here as bailifts cannot just be sent in to collect, this would have needed to go to court and judgment must be in favor of the (in this case) the council , then they have right to collect, they could however sell the debt on a private baillif company, but this is noemally a t a rduced cost so in effect the council would loose money, or of course they could just instruct bailliffs to visit the property just to simply intimidate and if cahallenged would have no right whatsoever to enforce, I must also say the foregion property owners have created this reputation of defalting on payments I am suer there are is an equal amout of english people who do the same , so maybe this has happened in the past hence it only takes a small amount of encouragment for anypayments to be collected, As for the coucillor he came over as being reasonable untill he showed how imature he was by voicing a verbal attack on other political parties I wonder if the whips say heres a pund for any attack you could put on other parties grow up !!! maxell
  • Score: -1

6:14pm Fri 16 Aug 13

Alpha 1 Legal says...

Hi, I'm forced to agree with some of the cpomments here about the processes the councils use. They do not simply wake up on a morning and say 'right, im going to send the bailiffs to this company today', there has usually been weeks of talking and letters etc before this actiuon is even considered!
Hi, I'm forced to agree with some of the cpomments here about the processes the councils use. They do not simply wake up on a morning and say 'right, im going to send the bailiffs to this company today', there has usually been weeks of talking and letters etc before this actiuon is even considered! Alpha 1 Legal
  • Score: 0

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