Citizens Advice Bureaux “braced” for Council Tax reforms
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, the Citizens Advice consumer service 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 see the Citizens Advice website.
- 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.
- To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at adviceguide.org.uk
- You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
- Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
- Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.