‘Financial squeeze!’ Thousands miss Council Tax payments due to rising energy bills

GB News: Expert discusses potential rise in Council Tax

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Citizens Advice Scotland is sounding the alarm that nearly 430,000 people have missed a council tax payment within the last year. Many of those who failed to pay their council tax bill on time have run out of money before being paid from work. In a survey conducted by YouGov, commissioned by Citizens Advice Scotland, it was revealed that 32 percent of people ran out of money before payday between 2020 and 2021.

Based on the current population in Scotland, this equates to an estimated 426,000 people being pushed into council tax debt.

As a result of this staggering figure, Citizens Advice has named the failure of some members of the public to meet council tax payments as its “biggest debt issue”.

The charity has voiced its concern for the removal of crucial pandemic-era financial support packages in recent months which have helped people cope with the rising cost of living.

Notably, Citizens Advice is worried about how the hike on energy bills, which are expected to rise even further, will impact households going into the new year.

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As of the beginning of October, the energy price cap rose for 15 million households in the UK which have affected payments.

Those on default tariffs who pay their bills via direct debit saw an increase of £139 on what they give to their energy supplier from £1,138 to £1277.

Furthemore, prepayment customers saw an increase of £153 in their bills from £1,156 to £1309.

Energy bills are expected to be raised even further in the months to come as more suppliers fall into administration.

On top of this, the Government’s decision to scrap the £20 uplift to Universal Credit payments has been controversial as it removes a further support option for those most in need.

Myles Fitt, the spokesperson for Financial Health at Citizens Advice Scotland, emphasised how much of an issue council tax debt is for many people in light of the energy bill crisis.

Mr Fitt explained: “Council tax debt is the biggest debt issue the Citizens Advice network sees, and it’s concerning that so many people are missing payments because they have run out of money.

“The ending of furlough and other pandemic related financial support measures will have a significant impact on many but other emerging cost pressures are creating a perfect financial storm on household budgets this autumn.

“There is real concern that more and more people will struggle to meet council tax payments as a result.”

Furthermore, the financial expert outlined the support measures Citizens Advice has in place to mitigate the lack of Government intervention

Mr Fitt added: “If you need advice around bills and money, the Citizens Advice network has got you covered. 

“We have a range of options for people to get advice from their local CAB, our online advice site, or through our online self-help tools for making savings on council tax www.checkmycounciltax.scot or more generally by boosting incomes and cutting costs via www.moneymap.scot.  

“Our advice adds up to getting you the help and support you need.”

Anyone in need of support in navigating their council tax payment or energy bills is encourage to reach out to Citizens Advice for guidance.

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