Laura Sharman 01 May 2020

Government urged to fund council tax payment holidays for vulnerable households

The Government should provide councils with extra funding to offer payment holidays for people struggling to pay their council bill, according to Citizens Advice.

New research from the charity has warned more than 13 million people have been unable to pay at least one bill because of the coronavirus outbreak. Almost 11 million of these people will be left vulnerable to severe consequences such as eviction or bailiff enforcement.

The research shows that 7.2 million people who have missed a council tax payment already or expect to do so owing to coronavirus.

It warned millions are facing a financial cliff edge when coronavirus protections end. The charity is calling for urgent government action to extend the protections for those most likely to suffer punitive enforcement.

Dame Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: 'The government's comprehensive measures have, for now, eased the financial burden for lots of households across the country. But millions still have reason to fear the looming financial cliff edge when these protections end.

'No one should lose their home, or have bailiffs chasing council tax payments, because of debts built up during the pandemic. Just as the lockdown restrictions will need to be eased gradually to prevent a second wave of the virus, we also need a transition out of the financial protections to avoid a new wave of hardship.'

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