Christmas Card Rent Warning Not in The Festive Mood
The campaign involved sending Christmas cards to its tenants, an apparent 46 per cent of who are in debt arrears. The 'Christmas' card states "Don't over indulge this Christmas. Pay your rent!" and then gives the number for its rent helpline.
It also sports a picture of a pound coin fizzing in a glass, a pile of coins and a small patch of holly, the only festive thing about it.
Many people have seen this reminder as insulting, with one woman, Tina Buckley who lives with her mother, spoke out angrily, saying that her mother has "been a tenant for 60 years" and "She's never behind with her rent". She also added that the card was a "disgusting, threatening piece of literature masquerading as a Christmas greeting. It's insulting."
Councillor Johnson is reported to say that the card was sent to about 17,000 properties, and that it was deliberately hard hitting. It was not however, meant to be insulting.
"It's a very serious issue and the real issue of this double-sided postcard was to say if you are in difficulty give us a call... It would give me no pleasure to evict people in the New Year because they are behind on their rent."
With so many people in debt and money troubles, it is no wonder the council is worried, stating that the £2,000 production cost of the cards "pales into insignificance" against the amount of rent that hasn't been paid.
It is easy to forget and spend wildly at this time of year and some people may be brought back down to earth by this brusque reminder, and as for those who are up to date but are insulted by the campaign, well, 'tis the season for forgiveness.
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