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Council tax support schemes consultation

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Council tax arrears. What can be done about how they're collected?

The proportion of our clients with council tax arrears rose from 10% in 2010 to 28% in 2014. Councils are considered some of the most unhelpful creditors by people in financial difficulty.

We believe that council tax arrears rose both as part of pressure on low income households in the years during and following the financial crisis, but also as a result of changes in 2013 to the support available to help low income families cope with the cost of council tax bills.

Council tax arrears are closely associated with poor collection practices that can exacerbate people’s financial difficulty beyond not being able to afford the bills themselves.

In response to the review of council tax support since the changes in 2013, we argue that Government should consider council tax arrears collections practice together with council tax support, and introduce a ‘breathing space’ protection to stop councils’ practices from pushing people deeper into financial difficulty.

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“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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