Right to get tough on debt

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BEWARE! If you try to get away with dodging paying your way with Sheffield City Council, we are delighted to say that you will be pursued relentlessly, including the prospect of bailiffs visiting to collect any outstanding money.

The authority has let it be known that over the last year, they took action through bailiffs to recover £6 million of unpaid council tax, business rates, and parking and bus lane fines owed by 10,000 people. This shows a grim determination to recoup outstanding amounts owed to the city council.

But we have no sympathy for the tax, rates and fine dodgers. For the council goes out of its way to exhaust every possible measure to get back the money owed to them before they take this ultimate and strict measure.

For instance, if you don’t pay your council tax, then you can expect to receive up to two reminders, a final notice, summons and a liability order issued by the courts before the bailiffs are instructed to take action.

It would be interesting to know how successful all of these measures are in recovering bad debts but we admit to being encouraged to learn of the tenacity with which the council chases outstanding payments.

And rightly so. For unpaid bills mean less money in the council’s pocket to supply the vital services upon which many people in our city rely. We cannot afford to have debts uncollected and look forward to the council being even more aggressive in collecting what is owed to them in the future.

By George, we should be proud!

WELCOME to St George’s Day, when every true Englishman and woman should feel proud of their national identity. And Sheffield is celebrating the occasion in a laudably down-to-earth fashion, with a beer tent selling patriotic drinks in the city centre.

Meanwhile, the Fat Cat pub has come up with its own George’s Marvellous Medicine brew to mark the occasion.

We welcome such moves as they rightly introduce a sense of celebration to a day which for too long has been barely acknowledged across the country.

The English have a reputation for being a reserved nation. But we have taken this too far in regards to our patron saint, seeming to be almost embarrassed to embrace our Englishness on his behalf. But that is finally beginning to change and we believe it is right that this should be so.

Our country in general, and our city in particular, have given much to the world over the years of which we ought to be proud and it is good to see a rise in patriotism.