Citizens Advice Scotland have reported that debtors with combined arrears of £6.4 million of council tax debt problems have approached them. This represents arrears for 2018/19 with the level of individual indebtedness averaging £1,900 out of a total of 3,999 people seeking advice.
It is perhaps surprising that the average amount of the arrears is actually greater than the average amount of council tax per house which is currently £1,147 per year.
It could well be that those who have the arrears could avail themselves of having their total bills reduced. This is because some people on low incomes (and if other circumstances prevail) are entitled to Council Tax Reduction.
However, the number of people taking advantage of this has reduced by over 9,000 over the years.
It is a pity that the uptake for the tax reduction has slowed down. Inevitably, there could be quite a number of people in arrears who would not be, had an appropriate application been made to have their council tax reduced. Perhaps the uptake will be greater once more people are aware of Citizens Advice's online tool which will allow people to assess their eligibility. So, the more people who can get a reduction in their council tax ,the less amount of arrears there will be.
Citizens Advice should be saluted for the sterling work they do to assist the many thousands of people who approach them seeking advice to resolve their debt problems. However, they face budgetary constraints which causes severe strain on their ability to deliver the quality service which they provide.
Hopefully, by using the online tool, less face-to-face meetings will be needed with an advisor whilst at the same time helping those who use it reduce their debt. If this is achieved then it will truly be a “win/ win” result.
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