Hi, East Bristol Debtors Alliance are no longer meeting, but the ideas behind the project are more relevant than ever. New movements are springing up , using debt as an organising tool to strike against capital.
This websites being left up as hopefully the materials are useful if anyone wants to organise drop ins to build a collective strike against debt. Get in touch by emailing stuffit at riseup dot net
Credit reference agencies and their role in council tax collection
As we all know Council Tax has been frozen for at least three years, this might seem a good thing but it will have a colossal impact on public services, on the jobs of public sector workers and on their spending power which will in turn impact on other low paid workers and their jobs. And as services are centralised there will be less accountability and if and when the private sector takes over public services, costs will inevitably sky-rocket.
As a follow up to an earlier article on creditor harassment we are repeating out call out for information if you have been feeling harassed by creditors. Two recent examples we have heard about via a local advice work are pretty horrible. One is a single parent mother , on income support who had run up a small debt via a catalogue company. She had fallen behind with her installments and was receiving letters which to her meant she was due in court any day now. She panicked, she stressed, she cut down her food budget to scape together £50 per month to offer the creditors.
There is an excellent article in the latest issue of Varient magazine on the topic of welfare reform. Presented in the media as some sort of tough love scheme to get the ‘workshy’ off benefits and increase their self worth through ‘work’, what we actually have here are proposals to dismantle and privatise the welfare system.
We’ve been hearing a few examples of people being terrorised by debt collection agencies constantly calling them, so it was interesting to see the Dispatches documentary a few days ago. Here’s C4′s website on it:
Please contact us if you are suffering from these invasions of privacy. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch with fellow sufferers, and also build up a picture of local evil-doers so we can rip away the anonymity they enjoy and invade THEIR privacy for a change!
Obviously it’s always good to have scum like this exposed on TV, and to share information on these ‘telerrists’ so that people can be forewarned about their underhand terror tactics.
BUT……. why did the presenter have to keep making it clear that “of course no one is saying that these debts should not be paid”?
Should Chile have paid it’s debts to the IMF, even though the money was spent by a junta that butchered those forced to repay? Should African countries have to keep up their repayments on loans made for jet fighters and gold palaces even though it means that tens of thousands die of starvation? Me and Bob Geldoff don’t agree on much, but we do agree that 3rd world debt is unjust and immoral. Should we ‘honour our debt to people like Fred Goodwin and allow him his pension? Isn’t the way that UK individuals were lent money they couldn’t afford to repay, by institutions looking to make a securitised buck out of their misery: isn’t that lending just as immoral?
Is it so crazy to demand that personal debt shouldn’t also be ‘dropped’?
Bailiffs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are just doing it as a job, some justify what they do by being disgusted at those they shake down, some do it for the power trip of making you feel vulnerable and afraid.
Whatever their reasons, you’re not going to make them change their ways by shouting abuse at them, calling them ‘fascists’, asking how their mothers feel about what they are doing or whatever. Remember, these are just the messengers, the ‘muscle’ – the ‘brains’ of the outfit are the people who decided to put you through all this pain. They sit in air-conditioned offices and click buttons on computers, talk about ‘increasing recovery targets’ and sleep very well at night. If you want to get back at someone, get back at them.
Council tenants offered £30,000 bribes to move out.
A classic Nu labour response to the crisis – persuading people with secure tenancies and ‘fair rents’ to leave for the murkier world of 6 month ‘assured tenancy agreements’ (meaning after the 6 months you can be evicted for no reason with 2 months notice) and ‘market’ rents (meaning ‘unfair’ rents’). And the people moving in are already victims of the housing crisis. in the mortgage sector as people struggle to keep up payments.
The other option would be to turn all those ‘luxery’ developments, those vast empty blocks build by greedy developers planning on making a packet by charging people £250,000 for a bedsit , i mean ‘studio flat’, into social housing and cut the waiting lists at a drop of a hat.
We recently had someone come in who a while ago had been hassled by bailiffs over Council Tax arrear. He tried to get an agreement with the council to pay it off to them, rather than the bailiffs but they weren’t interested.
500 jobs at Royal Sun Alliance to go by next March. Earlier this year it was announced that they made £750 million pre tax profits (a 13% rise on the previous year!).
Interesting comments from staff on the evening post comments section:
Source: Evening Post
It’s more than 50 actually, this is just for council tax..
Source: Evening Post