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StepChange Debt Charity and Money Advice Trust respond to government amendment to the Finance Bill

16 October 2015

StepChange Debt Charity and Money Advice Trust responded to a government amendment to the Finance Bill on HMRC’s new power to recover debts from personal bank accounts, which is being debated today.

The amendment says that HMRC must consider whether a person is at a particular disadvantage in dealing with their Revenue and Customs affairs and act accordingly.

Peter Tutton, head of policy at StepChange Debt Charity, said:

  “We are pleased to see that the Government has responded to concerns that HMRC’s new power could have a negative effect on financially vulnerable people. This important safeguard should ensure that this new power is only used in the appropriate circumstances.”

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline, said:

  “As with any other creditor, it is essential that HMRC takes into account debtors who are vulnerable in its debt collection practices.  We are pleased that the Government has agreed to amend the Finance Bill to address this concern, and that vulnerability will now be taken into account as HMRC uses its new powers for the direct recovery of debts. However, we remain concerned about the impact these powers will have on other groups, including small business owners – and will continue to press for additional safeguards to be introduced.”

Notes to editors:

This is amendment 12 to schedule 8 of the Finance Bill (enforcement by deduction from accounts). The amendment introduces safeguards for “Persons at a particular disadvantage in dealing with Revenue and Customs affairs.”

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