PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb is among a group of cross-party MPs calling for urgent reform of the bailiff industry.

In a joint letter to Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, Stephen Crabb joined Labour’s Rachel Reeves and other MPs, in urging the Government to ‘act now’ to reform debt collection practices by ‘bringing in stronger regulation and effective oversight’.

The letter also comments on the 2014 reforms which intended to resolve persistent problems in the industry and explains that ‘83% of callers to National Debtline who had experienced bailiff action reported that the bailiff visit had a negative impact on their wellbeing’.

In addition, the letter states ‘almost a third of people surveyed by StepChange Debt Charity said they had tried to arrange repayments by phone, but the bailiff insisted on visiting their home to take payments’, action which led to an extra £235 in enforcement fees added to their debt.

Stephen has raised the matter of bailiff reform with previous Ministers after meeting Preseli constituents who have had negative experiences with debt collectors.

He’s also worked closely with debt advice charities to support the ‘breathing space’ initiative; a fixed period without fees, charges, interest or enforcement action, to allow people in debt time to get on top of their debts before they spiral out of control.

Following the publication of the letter, Stephen Crabb said: “There is an important role for good quality debt enforcement but there is still too much bad practice in the industry. I have seen how negative experiences with bailiffs can make problems so much worse for constituents who are struggling to pay back debts.

”I have written to previous Ministers about this and I am pleased to add my support to this letter to the Justice Secretary now.

“The reality is that progress has been far too slow in driving up standards among bailiffs and debt collectors and I hope the Government listen to our concerns and bring in stronger regulation.”