Almost 1.75 million of the UK’s poorest households are being driven further and further into debt by cuts to welfare and rapidly increasing fees, says Oxfam in a recent report. Significant changes to welfare rules over the last three years have created a “perfect storm” of trouble for many of the country’s poorest families, with fewer exceptions and the unpopular ‘bedroom tax’ making it harder for them to keep up with payments and out of crippling debt.
The report from Oxfam and the New Policy Institute has suggested that the worst off 200,000 UK families could lose £864 a year after welfare reform and other policy changes. In Wales, doctors have reportedly seen hundreds of cases of malnutrition and many food banks have revealed the growing number of people turning to them for help with the basics. The Trussell Trust, for example, has revealed that the number of adults and children receiving emergency supplies from food banks in the last year has risen by a massive 163%.
Four policies thought to be responsible for many families’ debt are the bedroom tax, the lower limit on Local Housing Allowance payments to people renting privately, the £500-per week cap on benefits and the replacement of council tax exemption with the council tax support discount.
Some 1.4 million households are now eligible to pay council tax for the first time, which means that many families previously deemed too poor to pay have had to fork out for council tax payments or else face the stress of falling into arrears and being visited by bailiffs if they don’t pay.
Council Tax Advisors offers a service that helps those who do find themselves falling into debt, with advice and guidance given on dealing with council tax arrears, bailiffs and everything else associated with falling behind on payments. With our team of sympathetic experts, families who find their options for digging themselves out of debt dwindling always have somewhere to turn and can find practical solutions to their predicament.
With welfare reforms and cuts to benefits affecting the UK’s lowest earning households the hardest, it is more important than ever that information on these issues be shared freely, and Council Tax Advisors offer guidance on everything from crafting a repayment plan to the proper rules and regulations of bailiffs and enforcement officers. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help.