Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is encouraging people to check their eligibility for a council tax reduction as research reveals a quarter of working people who run out of cash before pay day miss their council tax payment as a result.
Research for the charity by YouGov reveals that 25 per cent of people in Scotland who had ran out of money before payday had to miss paying their council tax as a result. 8 per cent of respondents had missed the payment six or more times.
However, CAS is keen to make people aware that that some of them may be eligible for council tax reduction, which can help with meeting their council tax bills. Figures published by the Scottish government last month revealed that 7,110 fewer households are claiming the reduction compared to March 2018, and almost 75,000 fewer households are claiming it compared to April 2013 when the new scheme of council tax reduction was introduced.
The reduction is worth on average around £700 per household.
This led in May this year Citizens Advice Scotland launching a new tool to help people check if they are eligible for a council tax reduction: at www.checkmycounciltax.scot.
Council tax debt is the top debt issue that people in Scotland turn to their local CAB for advice with. 17,197 people asked for our help on this in 2017/18.
Citizens Advice Scotland Financial Health Spokesperson Myles Fitt said:
“The Citizens Advice network helps and advocates hundreds of thousands of Scots each year and we frequently see cases around council tax debt and people struggling with the cost of living generally. This further research suggests that people who are struggling to make it to pay day will miss a council tax payment as a result.
“This creates a vicious circle, with our advisers having to help thousands of people with council tax debt.
“Yet some people could be benefitting from not having to pay full council tax if they qualify for a reduction and this will help to manage their council tax bills.
“Recent evidence that shows there is a strong lack of public awareness around eligibility for the council tax reduction scheme, which can be worth on average £700 per year.
“We want to put money back in people’s pockets, which is why we have an online council tax tool can help people get the exemptions, discounts and reductions that they are entitled to at checkmycounciltax.scot.
“Alternatively, people can call our financial health check team for free on 0800 085 7145 or visit their local CAB for face-to-face help.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2078 adults, of which 983 were workers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th - 23rd March 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).
Thinking specifically about the past year (i.e. since early March 2018)...How often, if at all, have you had to miss and/ or go without any of the following because you ran out of money? (Please select one option on each row)
Council Tax payment
Unweighted base 458
Base: All Scottish workers who have run out of money before pay day (excl. rarely) 477
12% Once or twice
5% 3 to 6 times
8% More than 6 times
2% Don't know
6% Not applicable - this does not apply to me