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Bailiff Reform

Volume 575: debated on Tuesday 4 February 2014

We have legislated to set out the process that bailiffs must follow when taking control of goods, and to introduce a simplified, transparent fee structure. Further legislation for a new certification process will ensure that only fit and proper individuals can work as bailiffs. These reforms will come into force in April.

I welcome that simplification, but what is the Minister doing to protect vulnerable people from some of the excesses of bailiffs?

May I first put on record what a doughty campaigner the hon. Gentleman has been on this issue? I very much hope that the proposals that we will be putting in place in April will meet with his approval. We are putting in place a governance system that will make it absolutely clear when bailiffs—or enforcement agents, as they will be called—can seize goods and when they cannot, as well as how they should deal with vulnerable people. We are also putting in place a fee structure that is clearly understood and, most importantly, ensuring that enforcement agents have mandatory training and receive a certificate. If anyone acts as an enforcement agent without that certification, they will be committing a criminal offence.