Citizens Advice Cymru calls for more help for people struggling to pay council tax
Citizens Advice Cymru is calling for more action from the Welsh Government to assist people falling behind with council tax payments.
The organisation says council tax arrears are the most common debt issue it helps people with and current regulations governing council tax debt collection mean many people face recovery methods that can worsen debt problems and exacerbate financial insecurity.
The Welsh Government has introduced a number of interventions to improve council tax collections during the last Senedd term, but the advice service says these measures do not go far enough and it is critical steps are taken to ensure people are treated fairly when they fall behind with their payments.
In a new report to be launched at the Senedd on Wednesday, it will call for councils to show greater flexibility to those who are struggling to afford debt repayments and to stop demanding that people pay their entire annual bill if they miss one monthly payment.
They will also press ministers to improve awareness of council tax support and increase take-up by eligible households.
The government is also being urged to create a statutory code of practice governing council tax debt collection.
Cost of living crisis
Rebecca Woolley, Director of Citizens Advice Cymru said: “Many people in Wales are worried about making ends meet this year.
“Welsh and UK Government support packages have eased some pressure on households but they have not solved the cost of living crisis.
“We have seen record numbers of people coming to us for advice on essential bill debts such as council tax. Our report shows that households who want to pay their bills are still met with inflexible systems that risk making their debt problems worse.
“Citizens Advice Cymru wants to see affordable and sustainable repayment plans, clearer communication across local authorities, and firm commitments that bailiffs are only ever a last resort.”
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