Support Available for Those Struggling to Pay Council Tax

Residents in Henley who have outstanding payments on their council tax bill and are struggling to pay are being urged to contact South Oxfordshire District Council to find out what support may be available. An extra £150 of discount is now available to certain residents.

South Oxfordshire District Council are very aware that many people have new or increased financial worries following the Coronavirus pandemic and there are a number of ways they can help people struggling to pay.

The government hasn’t suspended council tax during the pandemic and so it still needs to be paid.  The Council are especially concerned that people could get into further debt if they don’t keep up with their payments and so have written to more than 6,000 households, who aren’t currently in receipt of council tax support, whose accounts are in arrears, advising them on the options that are available and urging them to get in touch.

The Council can also now confirm that residents receiving a reduction on their council tax via the councils’ Council Tax Reduction scheme, will receive up to a further £150 off their 2020/21 council tax bill. The council are writing to all eligible residents to let them know.  The extra discount comes from a government hardship fund announced in April.

Anyone who is worried about being able to afford their council tax should get in touch with the councils to find out about the help that’s available to best support them.  This can include:

  • rescheduling council tax instalments so that they start later or are spread over a longer time;
  • applying for council tax support – the councils’ council tax reduction scheme can help reduce the amount of council tax people have to pay – visit www.southoxon.gov.uk/ctrs for details
  • making payment, setting up a Debit Debit, or changing payment arrangements online via southoxon.gov.uk/counciltax

To support those who are self-isolating, and to help avoid unnecessary travel and contact, residents are encouraged to pay online.  People can make single payments by credit or debit card when it best suits them.

Alternatively, you can pay by calling the 24/7 automated payment service on 0345 302 2313 – please choose option 1 and option 1 again.  When you call you will need to quote the council tax reference at the top of this letter or as displayed at the top of your council tax bill, so please make sure you have either of these with you.

Cllr Leigh Rawlins, Cabinet Member for Finance at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We are obviously concerned that if people are struggling to pay bills at the moment, they could experience much more challenging financial debt problems in a few months’ time.  We are therefore writing to people who have missed all, or part of, a recent payment to let them know about the support that’s available.  Above all, our message is – if you are struggling to pay, please contact us.”

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