Indebted Scots are being urged to check whether they’re entitled to claim council tax reductions.
The encouragement comes from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), which has highlighted the extent to which council tax is now a major financial headache for people throughout Scotland, particularly those who are struggling to manage their debts more generally.
The charity says that it was approached for guidance on debt-related issues by around 3,400 people in the year 2018/19, with council tax arrears a big problem for a significant proportion of those people.
In fact, CAS says that the people it helped with debt problems in that period owed a collective total of some £6.4 million in council tax, at an average of £1,900 each.
That evidence has led the charity to highlight the fact that households entitled to council tax reductions in Scotland can save themselves around £700 a year and potentially ease some of their debt management woes in the process.
Despite those reductions being available and council tax clearly being a major financial burden for a lot of people, CAS says that the number of Scots claiming council tax reductions fell by more than 9,000 in the year to June 2019.
The charity recently launched a website - www.checkmycounciltax.scot - specifically to help people living in Scotland find out if they might be entitled to reductions on their council tax bills.
“We want more people to access the scheme and cut their bills as a result,” explained Myles Fitt, a financial health spokesperson for CAS.
“Local Authorities should also ensure that they have systems in place to help people who have difficulties paying council tax from getting into problem debt.”
CAS has also been campaigning to convince indebted Scots that they really should claim whatever financial support they might be eligible to from the government.
The charity says that there are many thousands of people across the country who currently don’t claim financial support that could be helping them reduce their bills or keep pace with them.
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More than a third of workers in Scotland are fearful that they might lose their jobs at some point over the next 12 months.
Large numbers of households across Scotland could be facing serious financial problems once the option to defer their bills or their debt repayments ceases to be available.
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