Chelmsford council sympathetic over council tax problems

Chelmsford City Council has said it is dealing “sympathetically” with problems over paying council tax.

The council has said that if an income has been affected by coronavirus leading to difficulties with paying council tax due on April 8, people should contact banks directly to stop the payment of this direct debit.

In addition if an income has stopped or reduced as a result of coronavirus, some people may be eligible for council tax reduction.

Those who do not qualify may be able to move their council tax instalments or make a payment arrangement to make a bill more affordable during the crisis.

Councillor Stephen Robinson, leader of Chelmsford City Council, said: “Chelmsford City Council is very well aware that many people are seeing a fall in their personal income.

“So the council is dealing sympathetically with all requests to alter council tax instalments, on a case-by-case basis. Many people are contacting us to discuss their concerns and to request that their first instalment for this year is moved to June.

“In many cases, we are able to agree to this, but it is not possible to apply a deferral across the board.

“The vast majority of council tax is used to pay police officers and staff, firefighters, care home workers, home care providers, education support workers, and other staff who keep us all safe.

“Applying relief across the board would make it impossible to keep public services going.

“However, we do understand that many residents are worrying about their own finances and we want to help wherever possible. If your circumstances have changed and your income has dropped, please apply for Universal Credit and then apply to the council for council tax support.

“The government has also provided additional support of up to £150, which we will apply to the accounts of everyone of working age who is awarded council tax support, whether they’re a new or existing claimant, for as long as the fund lasts or until April 2021.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter