Some Orpington Labour members have been working behind the scenes to get legal assistance for Beckenham resident Paul Rooney and his disabled daughter, who are facing eviction from their home.
Mr Rooney was forced to give up his job to provide the 24 hour care his daughter requires and as a result ran up council tax arrears of £2,000. The company which collects Bromley council tax – Liberata – has added £49,000 on to the original debt, in collection and legal fees, bringing the amount now owed to £51,000.
Mr Rooney says the problem has been caused by the incorrect processing of his application for council tax benefit.
When bailiffs recently arrived to carry out the eviction, friends and supporters successfully blocked their way and Mr Rooney has now received a reprieve and the case will now go back to Court.
A Bromley Council spokesman said:
“The Council is responsible for public money and so will seek to recover debts when it is appropriate to do so, initiating bankruptcy when other methods of recovery have been exhausted.”
We say that responsibility means spending the funds allocated rather than buying up property with £11m savings on not providing Bromley residents services they’ve paid for….
So £2,000 plus £49,000 fees will help buy another property for Bromley council and boost Liberata’s profits. Oh and they will have to rehouse Paul and his daughter at our expense….
Bromley Council’s Labour group leader Angela Wilkins said: “I think it’s really sad this has been allowed to get this far. It’s completely disproportionate to have £49,000 of fees for a £2,000 debt. There are serious questions for the council. Never mind the human cost – the financial cost in terms of emergency housing is going to be disproportionate too. It’s crazy. It’s just bonkers”.
An extensive interview with Paul about this charade is available here