Research and Campaigns
Hello and welcome to the first Research and Campaigns blog post!
Citizens Advice commits to campaigning on issues that affect people’s lives. Each week, we’ll be writing about a different Research and Campaigns issue and what we are doing to try to fix it. We will also give tips for what you can do if it affects you.
This week’s blog post is on Council Tax debt. Council Tax debt is the most common debt issue we see. It has risen by a third in the last 3 years.
Due to this rise, Citizens Advice launched a campaign called Council Tax Protocol. As part of the campaign, local Citizens Advice offices are working together with local councils. This is to have fair debt collection processes and stop people getting into debt in the first place. It is one of the primary campaigns we are working on here.
Are You Struggling to Pay Your Council Tax?
During the coronavirus pandemic, Sandwell Council has suspended all court action for Council related debt. This means you may get an initial letter telling you about the debt, but they will take no further action. It is important to remember that this is only during the pandemic. The council expects you to pay the debt back once the pandemic is over. The usual recovery process will then resume.
If you cannot pay your bill, you should inform the council as soon as possible and then talk to one of our debt advisers.
If you are on a low income, you may be eligible for Council Tax Reduction. You can check your eligibility for Council Tax reductions or exemptions here. You can also talk to one of our generalist advisers. They may be able to determine your eligibility, and help you with an application. They can also check your eligibility for other benefits. This will be especially useful if your income has dropped recently due to the pandemic!
We do not have a face-to-face service currently due to quarantine. But you can still get advice over webchat or call our Adviceline service on 0300 330 9017 (local rates apply). Check the opening times for these services on our website.