Citizens Advice Bureaux “braced” for Council Tax reforms
30 January 2013
A new report from the Resolution Foundation warns that 3.2 million of the poorest households will see increases to their Council Tax bills from April. Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, responds:
"Citizens Advice Bureaux are bracing themselves for an influx of people on low incomes who are being chased by the local council for arrears that they can't pay.
"Pressure from Government to freeze council tax gives local authorities little choice other than to chase much-needed revenue from the poorest residents. We are deeply concerned that bureaux will see not only an increase in people struggling with unmanageable debt, but also the knock-on effect of increased bailiff action and the mental stress and anxiety this brings.
"The postcode lottery of support and charges this system creates completely undermines the Government's ambition to simplify the benefits system. We'd like to see Council Tax support incorporated into Universal Credit to support the goal of simplicity and minimise arrears.
"Citizens Advice also wants to see local authorities working closely with bureaux to help mitigate the disastrous impact this system could have on millions of families."
Notes to editors
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more information in England and Wales see www.citizensadvice.org.uk
- The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality. For online advice and information see www.adviceguide.org.uk
- Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.9 million problems from April 2011 to March 2012. For full 2011/2012 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
- Out of 22 national charities, the Citizens Advice service is ranked by the general public as being the most helpful, approachable, professional, informative, effective / cost effective, reputable and accountable (nfpSynergy’s Brand Attributes survey, May 2010).
- Most Citizens Advice service staff are trained volunteers, working at around 3,500 service outlets across England and Wales.