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Debt Collection

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many homes have been subject to forced entry by bailiffs under the provisions of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 in each year since those provisions were implemented. (257514)

Since the introduction of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 the power to force entry has been used to execute warrants of arrest by magistrates court civilian enforcement officers (CEOs) on 386 occasions and to execute warrants of distress by private bailiffs contracted to Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS) on two occasions. HMCS does not have a breakdown for each of the individual years available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 13 October 2008, Official Report, column 870W, on debt collection: parking offences, (1) whether his Department plans to bring forward proposals to amend the law relating to bailiffs to extend rights to bailiffs to have a forced power of entry in relation to unpaid parking fines; (258019)

(2) when he expects the new powers of forced entry for bailiffs under the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 to be (a) commenced and (b) implemented.

The enforcement provisions in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 are far reaching reforms. The provisions have recently undergone a comprehensive reassessment by Ministers to ensure that they remain appropriate even under this difficult financial climate. This assessment has now concluded and a statement will be made shortly.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will place in the Library a copy of each individual non-confidential response to his Department’s consultation paper on the regulation of enforcement agents. (258068)

A copy of each individual non-confidential response to the Department’s consultation paper on regulation of enforcement agents has already been placed in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether his Department’s joint review with the Department for Communities and Local Government on the enforcement of council tax payments will include in its remit the enforcement powers of bailiffs. (258071)

The Ministry of Justice has completed an extensive review on the powers of bailiffs which culminated in the enforcement provisions in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. The Ministry of Justice is working with the Department of Communities and Local Government to look at new ways to collect and enforce council tax, in particular by allowing councils to transfer council tax debts from magistrates to county courts. Any necessary legislation will be introduced as parliamentary time allows.