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Source: City of Coventry

Published Friday, 09 October 2020

The Council is teaming up with advice agencies to encourage people not to ignore council tax debts whilst court action is currently on hold.

Court proceedings are due to commence again from 19 October and people are encouraged to seek help before incurring further costs.

Concerns that people are delaying addressing debts, whilst enforcement activity has been put on hold due to COVID, are being highlighted and people are being encouraged not to put off seeking debt advice.

The Council and the advice sector are encouraging people to engage and seek advice – from either the Council or advice sector or both.

The Council is sending final notices to give people a chance to engage before court action starts.

It is really important that people respond to these letters.

The final notice requests that the full council tax amount is paid in one go and the Council – by law – has to show this amount. However, the Council knows that many people cannot afford to pay the full amount in one payment.

The Council is asking people to get in touch, or to speak to an an advice agency who can contact the Council on their behalf, the Council will then do everything it can to agree affordable payment plans for those that have accrued debt.

Cllr Richard Brown, Cabinet Member for Strategic Finance and Resources, said: ‘We are acutely aware of the impact that COVID has had on household finances and we want to do everything we can to support people and ensure they don’t get into financial hardship as a result of this pandemic.”

Anyone who needs to seek expert advice can speak to the Council or local advice services now, they can ensure you’re receiving any support to which you’re entitled and help make any repayments affordable without the need for enforcement action or court proceedings.

Ed Hodson, Research and Campaigns Manager, Citizens Advice Coventry, added: “Not taking action early on could lead to people having accumulated more debt and make it harder to deal with when enforcement activity re-commences in the coming weeks.

“We want to get the message out to people that the worst thing to do is ignore the debts.”

Caroline Read, Money Advice Manager at Coventry Independent Advice Service, added:

“We recognise lots of people are really struggling at the moment and getting into difficulties  with their council tax.

“We can offer advice and support on this issue in terms of checking entitlement to benefits  and we also provide advice and support around debt and money problems so we can help with working out affordable payments”

Coventry Citizens Advice provides free, confidential, impartial and independent information, advice and guidance on a range of issues including debts, benefits, housing and employment. We can be reached on 03444 111 444 or via advice buddy. If you want to contact our money advice team, specifically, either call 024 7625 2047 or email [email protected]

MIL OSI United Kingdom