Chauntelle’s November Pick of the Blogs

By chauntelle.wright in on Nov 21, 2019

Hello All,

Brrrr it’s turning cold. Time to get a cup of tea and have a read in front of the fire.

This month’s pick of the blogs was spotted in a tweet and immediately peaked my interest. My former colleagues and I in Specialist Support became incredibly frustrated with High Court Enforcement companies demanding VAT charges on enforcement fees from clients. All our research and the expert opinions we received persuaded us that any VAT charges applied on fees should be paid by the creditor.

Peter Tutton from Stepchange considers that this issue has now been answered unequivocally via a parliamentary question in the House of Lords. “Debt collection services carried out by High Court Enforcement Officers are subject to VAT according to the normal rules and any VAT due is payable by the creditor who receives the service. The debtor is not required to pay the VAT.

HM Revenue and Customs are working with the Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) 2014 Regulations, to ensure that VAT rules continue to be applied correctly.

Peter suggests that any VAT applied to client cases should now be refunded. I couldn’t agree more.

Read the full article here: https://medium.com/stepchange/time-for-the-moj-to-require-high-court-bailiffs-to-refund-people-wrongly-charged-for-vat-72f153b9c94a

In other blogs:

Another good read is a blog piece by Giles Peaker on a recent Bedroom Tax case RR v SoS for Work and Pensions. This case looks at issues where regulations are found to breach a person’s human rights. It could have wide ranging implications.

In this case, the Bedroom Tax Regulations discriminated against people who had a medical need for an additional bedroom. The regulations said that for a couple, more than one bedroom was unnecessary and Housing Benefit payments were reduced. The regulations made no adjustment for people with disabilities. The legislation had been amended to rectify this breach but the DWP did not agree that the legislative changes were retrospective. This meant that Housing Benefit for people with disabilities assessed prior to the changes in the regulations were still being affected.

The Supreme Court held unanimously that where subordinate legislation, such as the Bedroom Tax Regulations, breach the Human Rights Act, then those regulations are to be disapplied. This means that full Housing Benefit will be paid in all cases where is can be shown that there is a medical need for an additional bedroom.

https://nearlylegal.co.uk/2019/11/tribunals-and-human-rights/

I have followed the Z2K complaint about the DWP’s “Mythbusting” campaign with interest. Many of you, like me, would have been agog at the Guide to Universal Credit articles that ran in the Metro earlier this year. Z2K complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the accuracy of the campaign and won.

Raji Hunjan provides a very passionate account detailing why she considers the advertisement campaign was misleading and argues that an investigation into DWP working practices is warranted.

https://www.z2k.org/latest/why-the-asa-ruling-on-the-dwp-universal-credit-advertisements-is-a-massive-win-for-advice-workers-and-the-thousands-of-people-they-help-navigate-the-benefits-system/

Finally have a look at Sara from Debt Camel’s article on Credit Scoring and what makes your scores go up or down; also, Citizens Advice make a request to any new Government to tackle the fairness of Council Tax Collection procedures:

https://debtcamel.co.uk/credit-score-change/

https://wearecitizensadvice.org.uk/the-next-government-needs-to-make-sure-people-in-debt-are-treated-fairly-9a4d71900c3f

Have you read any good blogs recently? Let us know in our discussion forum.

In other news

Did you attend the webinar on good practice in Confirmation of Advice letters? There is a dedicated discussion forum to ask questions, share ideas and your letter templates. If you have any examples of other standard letters, such as a case closure letter then please do share with colleagues.

https://www.i-m-a.org.uk/forums/forum/webinar-qa-confirmation-of-advice/

More blogs next month.

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