AS the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on many people’s incomes, Sefton Council chiefs are urging anyone concerned about their Council Tax payments to get in touch, on 0345 140 0845, as soon as possible.
A wide range of advice and support is available to people facing difficulties paying Council Tax and other household bills. Council staff can put callers in touch with organisations providing free, independent financial advice such as Citizens Advice Sefton, Sefton Advice Services, Sefton Credit Union, National Debt Line and the Step Change Debt Charity.
There are also a number of ways that people can reduce their Council Tax liability. These include the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme for people on a low income and the Exceptional Hardship Fund. There are also several discounts and exemptions including for people who are sole occupiers.
A Sefton Council spokesperson said: “COVID-19 and the measures taken to prevent its spread have had a direct and indirect impact on many of us and has had a negative effect on many people’s incomes.
“Feeling you can’t pay your bills can be frightening which is why we want people concerned about their Council Tax and other outgoings to start talking to us now, rather than just worrying about it.
“The sooner people get in touch, they sooner we can start helping them with practical solutions and ways to reschedule their payments.”
Anyone who thinks they will struggling to meet their payments, should contact the Council on 0345 140 0845 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, where an advisor will be able to help. People can also see what help is available by visiting https://www.sefton.gov.uk/covid-19-advice-and-benefits.
The spokesperson added: “It’s so important that those of who can pay our council tax, continue to do so – now more than ever. Council Tax pays for facilities and services including to some of the most vulnerable in our communities and it is our duty to everyone in the Borough to collect it.
“We have already written to residents with existing Council Tax arrears to remind them about payment and to ask them to get in touch if they anticipate payment problems.
“The Government recently introduced revised legislation allowing Enforcement Agents to re-start visits to collect debts in the coming weeks. However, where Sefton residents are facing genuine and often unforeseen financial challenges as a result of coronavirus, we want to work with them to find solutions and see that kind of recovery action as a last resort.”