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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Help Tackling Council Tax Debt

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Pilot scheme will see councils and advice services work more closely together. 

Extra help for people struggling with council tax debt will be on offer in three local authority areas under a pilot scheme. 

The Scottish Government is providing Citizens Advice Scotland with £200,000 funding to better understand the reasons why some people end up in council tax arrears and to work collaboratively with local councils to help reduce and prevent council tax debt in future. 

Citizen’s Advice Bureaux in Renfrewshire, Clackmannanshire and the Scottish Borders will test different ways of working including: 

  • Providing targeted support to individuals facing council tax debt
  • Simplifying the referral processes between councils and advice services
  • Organising mutual training sessions for council and Citizens Advice staff

Housing Minister Paul McLennan visited Roxburgh and Berwickshire Citizen’s Advice Bureau to launch the project.  

Mr McLennan said: 

“We know many people are struggling in the cost of living crisis and that is why we are targeting resources at those most in need.

“Council tax debt is a significant issue, and one that particularly affects the most vulnerable.

“The three Bureaux involved in these pilots have established relationships with their local authorities.

“This funding will help build on those connections to help individuals tackle problem debt and also provide valuable learning on how public sector debt can best be managed. 

“Advice services are critical to Scotland’s communities, supporting people to understand their rights and entitlements, maximising incomes and helping to reduce poverty.

“This year we will invest more than £12.5 million in a range of advice services providing free income maximisation, welfare and debt advice.” 

Myles Fitt, Financial Health Strategic Lead at Citizens Advice Scotland said:

“Council tax debt is the single biggest debt issue that clients bring to the CAB Service each year.

“The cost-of-living crisis is only worsening this problem, so we welcome the opportunity this funding provides to make a difference to peoples’ lives and financial well-being.

“Through working in partnership with councils, the three bureaux involved in this pilot will bring their deep insight into the factors and barriers that lie behind council tax debt to develop joint solutions that will help those in arrears now and in the future.”

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