MP calls for ‘complete overhaul’ of bailiff rule
A borough MP has called for “a complete overhaul” of the rules on using bailiffs.
Yvonne Fovargue, who represents Makerfield in Parliament, was one of several cross-party MPs who co-signed a letter calling on the Government to bring more regulation and stronger oversight of the bailiff industry.
Ms Fovargue lent her support to the letter, written by Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves to the Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland.
The letter marked a year since the Ministry of Justice closed its Call For Evidence on enforcement agent reforms. In that time, the Justice Select Committee has also released a report recommending the introduction of independent bailiff regulation, as well as legislation which will require all private enforcement agents to use body-worn cameras.
But despite the progress being made towards better measures, the letter from Ms Reeves said that reforms brought about through the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations Act 2014 had “proved ineffective in tackling the issues that persist within the bailiff industry”.
Supporting the fresh calls for action, Ms Fovargue said: “Nothing short of a complete overhaul of the rules on bailiff use is needed. Despite the reforms of 2014, bailiffs are continuing to use intimidation and bogus excuses to seize goods to which they have no right to and to charge disproportionate fees which only add to people’s debt levels and their distress.
“The conclusion we must come to is that such unacceptable behaviour will not be ended until an independent regulator of bailiffs and bailiff firms is established, together with a user-friendly complaints mechanism. That the Government continues to resist this reform is frankly inexplicable.”
Fellow MPs who signed the letter included Hilary Benn, former Work and Pensions Minister Stephen Crabb and the former Tory party chairman, Lord Eric Pickles.