Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) have launched their biggest campaign of the year so far, encouraging people to check if they are eligible to save on council tax.
Figures released from the charity reveal council tax debt is a soaring problem in Scotland, with clients within the Citizens Advice network owing almost £7million, with the average debt nearly three times the average bill, at £3,102.46.
The ‘Check To Save’ campaign will run for the next two weeks, with Citizens Advice bureaux across the length and breadth of Scotland campaigning to raise awareness of the issue, and entitlements to savings on Council Tax.
The charity will also be marketing on main streets and bus routes across the country, and targeting at risk groups through social media advertising.
Potential savings on council tax come in three specific forms
Exemptions, where a household is completely exempt from paying, such as those living with a severe mental impairment.
A fixed discount such as the 25 per cent single person discount
A reduction calculated on someone’s circumstances, such as their access to social security payments
CAS will be directing people towards their online tool which allows people to check if the they are eligible for savings at www.checkmycounciltax.scot and online advice at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/checktosave/
Launching the campaign in Dundee today, CAS Financial Health spokesperson Myles Fitt said:
“We see across the Citizens Advice network in Scotland that Council Tax debt is a serious and growing issue in Scotland.
“That the average debt our clients are dealing with is nearly three times bigger than the average bill in Scotland shows the scale of the problem.
“One way we can help people, on top of specialist debt advice, is ensuring they are accessing the savings they are entitled on their council tax bill. These entitlements can take account of individual circumstances and can make a real difference in terms of money going back into people’s pockets.
“That’s why we’re directing people towards www.checkmycounciltax.scot to see what they are could be saving.
“The squeezed cost of living is a huge problem in Scotland so our message to people is simple; check to see if you could be saving on your Council Tax.
NOTES TO EDITORS
In 2019 the Citizens Advice network helped 2,250 people with Council Tax debt totalling £6,908,525.67, working out to an average debt of £3,102.46.
The average Council Tax per dwelling in Scotland for 2019/20 is £1,147.
In April 2013 the number of CTR recipients was 552,380. The latest statistics (September 2019) show this had fallen to 471,790 that month, a difference of 80,590. https://www.gov.scot/publications/council-tax-reduction-extract/