Council tax debt has grow to be an actual challenge in mild of the coronavirus epidemic. According to analysis performed by the three organisations, over two million persons are behind on their council tax payments as a result of virus.
The report put collectively on this estimates that there’s roughly £3billion owed in unpaid council tax.
While it is a worrying determine and lots of will probably sympathise with underfunded councils, the repercussions of aggressive recuperation strategies may be illustrated by inspecting particular person instances.
Marie, 76, often paid her council tax through Paypoint on the Post Office.
However, she was compelled to protect as a consequence of her age and well being points, which embrace managing a persistent lung situation.
Despite the direness of her state of affairs, her native council contacted her relating to council tax arrears of a mere £13 and threatened her with a legal responsibility order.
She was finally knowledgeable that she could also be “taken to court” which frightened her as a consequence of the entire lockdown measures.
The report highlighted that when lack of ability orders start to be issued once more following the temporary ban from the state, she’s going to probably face enforcement motion.
It’s due to conditions like these which have resulted in all three of the charities writing to Simon Clarke, the Minister for native authorities, outlining their suggestions.
The leaders of all three charities supplied the next feedback on what they’d prefer to see modified from the federal government:
Joanna Elson OBE, chief government of the Money Advice Trust
“There may be no going again to ‘business as usual’ for council tax assortment.
“With tens of millions susceptible to falling behind with their council tax payments, the federal government ought to transfer rapidly to handle the weaknesses in the best way native authorities acquire arrears from folks in debt – to make sure that that is truthful, proportionate and doesn’t make unhealthy monetary conditions worse.
“At the identical time, councils want extra funding for each present Council Tax Support schemes and to assist residents in hardship in different methods.
“This must be put in place instantly, in order that native authorities can play their half in supporting the nation’s monetary restoration from the outbreak.”
Phil Andrew, chief government of StepChange Debt Charity
“Council tax is usually one of many payments that households experiencing monetary problem wrestle to pay, but enforcement of it’s harsher and extra punitive than most different types of debt.
“Particularly this early within the Council Tax yr, if folks miss a cost and grow to be liable to repay the complete quantity, it is a fear.
“The Government must take steps each to assist councils who will understandably be fearful about their funding, but additionally to require them to undertake truthful and compassionate approaches to residents who fall into arrears on account of the present state of affairs.”
In response to the report, a spoksperson from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government stated the next: “
“Council tax performs an essential half in funding frontline providers within the coronavirus response however we count on councils to be sympathetic to these in real hardship.
“We’ve launched a £500 million hardship fund that builds on native assist schemes by additional lowering the council tax payments of a few of the most weak households by as much as £150.
“We’ve additionally modified the regulation to guard households by banning enforcement visits from bailiffs at residential premises in the course of the pandemic in keeping with public well being steering.”