Bailiffs visited South London council 4 times demanding over £1 million

Bailiffs have knocked at Lambeth Council’s offices four times over the last 12 months demanding over £1 million. A Freedom of Information request by Brixton Buzz revealed debt collectors turned up at Lambeth Town Hall and Lambeth Civic Centre to recover £1,013,495 between May 2021 and May 2022.

Most of the cash was demanded during a single visit by bailiffs to Lambeth’s offices. The council was told to cough up £1,004,409.69 in money it allegedly owed on the occasion. But enforcement officers left empty handed after a court set aside Lambeth’s debt – in effect cancelling it.

The bailiffs had more success on the three other times they turned up at council offices in the last year. On these occasions Lambeth agreed to pay the entire amount demanded by the debt collectors.

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The local authority paid £4,268.20, £2,855.60 and £1,961.28 following visits by the bailiffs to their headquarters between May 2021 and May 2022. The payouts bring the amount Lambeth has handed over to bailiffs following visits to their two head offices in Brixton to £9,085 in the last 12 months.

Lambeth Civic Centre, one of the two core offices, opened in March 2018 as part of the local authority’s efforts to reduce its number of buildings from 14 to two. The other office is the Town Hall which reopened to the public following refurbishment in January 2018. The local authority spent a total of £104 million on the buildings and other projects known as its New Town Hall scheme.

Lambeth Council itself has sought the help of debt collectors to recover money owed to the local authority 1,504 times between 2017 and 2018 – the most recent period for which figures are available. Lambeth Council has been contacted for comment.

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