Ways to combat decreasing local government support for council tax
After a hectic, but largely enjoyable period celebrating the festivities of Christmas and the beginning of a new year numerous people will have difficulties paying their upcoming bills. Although falling into debt can be a dark time, help is at hand here at Council Tax Advisors from our friendly team who have experienced falling behind on their property tax payments.
As local government resources become even more stretched after funding cuts the financial support for those who require it the most is limited consequently. Councils across the UK have already announced that there will be significant cutbacks in the crucial Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) which gives discounts for the poorest residents and families in particular areas.
With Britain’s economy making tiny progress over the last year, more financial strain has been placed on local authorities, and, as a result, people’s finances. Worrying figures released by the Local Government Association showed that just 45 councils are investing the same money into council tax benefit as they were in 2013, before this support stream was reduced. Although the tough economic times appear to be unlikely to change any time soon, there are some helpful tips which will save you and your family vital cash.
Pay your bill by direct debit
Rather than manually sending money to the council each month, setting up a direct debit payment plan could save you some money over the annual cost of this property tax. This means that your bank will make regular monthly council tax payments without you lifting a finger, which can also be advantageous as it gives you one less job to do. This adds simplicity and everyone can use this method, whether or not you have a bank account. In December, changes meant that every British adult could have a bank account, regardless of their credit rating, without being charged.
It is advisable not to use a direct debit plan if you are close to your overdraft limit as banks will fine you for doing so, but worry not as our helpful team at CTACIC are more than willing to find affordable solutions should you fall into debt. We also hold a monthly prize for one lucky person to have their yearly council tax bill paid for free.
Ask for a reassessment
The last time properties were valued by bands was nearly 25 years ago in 1991, so it is possible you are paying too much for your council tax bill because the Valuation Office Agency have not done a nationwide assessment in quite a while. To enquire about the band your property is in you should research how much your home was valued in 1991 as well as checking what your neighbour’s property is worth. Getting the band of your property changed could save you hundreds of pounds, so it is definitely worth considering.
Enquire about council support
Another way you can reduce the amount you spend on your bill is by contacting your local council about possible support schemes they implement for residents in hardship. Around half of councils have provided funding for those who need it the most in terms of paying their council tax. If your council believes you are entitled to receive financial support it is highly likely you will get it as long as money is reserved for this help.
If you are still struggling to pay your council tax or any other bills, then please do not hesitate in contacting us today. We give free and impartial advice to everyone who asks for our help and we have experienced dealing with bailiffs through our own troubles.