Council puts more steps in place to deal with people in financial difficulty in Doncaster
Deputy Mayor of Doncaster, Cllr Glyn Jones, has further strengthened the council’s approach to supporting residents in financial difficulty.
Working with local Citizens Advice, Cllr Jones has signed an agreed protocol which provides practical steps to support those who are struggling to pay their council tax. “We have a duty to all residents to collect council tax in a fair way,” said Cllr Jones. “However, we do recognise that there are people who are struggling to pay their bills and are falling down an ever deeper hole of spiralling debt.” Cllr Jones continued: “We have always been committed to helping residents in these very difficult situations and our continued work with Citizens Advice allows us to reach out to those who need our help from the start.” The protocol has been developed by Citizens Advice, along with support from the Local Government Association. It requires that local authorities work with enforcement and advice agencies to help people pay their council tax bills while accessing debt advice. Doncaster Council is the first local authority in South Yorkshire to formally sign up to this. Karen Bothamley, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice Doncaster borough, explains further: “We recognise that councils are under huge pressures to collect council tax due to ever increasing budget restraints. However, when we work with the council to identify those who need support from an early stage it helps to prevent further charges and worries further down the line. “Doncaster Council already follows all the good practice which is outlined in the protocol. By formally signing up to this, it reassures residents that we are working together to achieve the best outcomes for them,” said Karen. Anyone who is struggling to pay their council tax should contact the council as soon as possible on 01302 734454 and seek help direct from Citizens Advice on 01302 846745 or 0344 4994137. Those on means-tested benefits or a low income may be entitled to Council Tax Reduction. For more information or to apply go to www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/council-tax-benefits/what-is-local-council-tax-reduction