Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, has contacted both West Dunbartonshire Council and Argyll and Bute Council and asked them to change the current council tax break months from February and March to April and May. This would be done to ensure that those currently feeling the financial strain caused by the covid-19 pandemic would have the worry of paying council tax in April and May removed. Many local residents have either been forced to not work because of temporary business closures or have had their working hours severely reduced. This has left them with a much smaller income than usual.
Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire Councils responded to Jackie Baillie’s requests for a change to the council tax year. Both councils agreed to consider any change to payments on a case by case basis. They have encouraged anyone who believes they will not be able to pay their council tax for April and May to contact the local authority directly.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“This is an incredibly worrying and uncertain time for all of us. For my constituents who just manage to make ends meet each month, this will be a very stressful time for them. Many people are experiencing significant loss of income and are relying on personal savings and government funded payments to stay afloat.
“I would encourage anyone who believes that paying council tax in April and May would leave them at a severe economic disadvantage to contact your local authority. They are there to help make this time more manageable for you. Some may even be eligible for council tax reduction benefit.
“My office is still operating, albeit not on a face-to-face basis. I encourage anyone who would like advice to get in touch with me or the Council.”
Notes to Editors
Information relating to council tax support for West Dunbartonshire council:
• For anyone unable to pay their instalment in April and/or May, we can agree a payment arrangement and adjust the remaining instalments due in the year. This arrangement would allow the remaining instalments to be spread over the remaining months of the year, and could include February and March 2021 if this would assist them – which effectively does what you have suggested;
• During this crisis, anyone who contacts us to advise that they are unable to pay their April and/or May instalment, or any subsequent instalment in full, will not receive Council Tax follow-up. We will hold any follow-up action on their account to allow them to bring their account up to date during 2020/21 and will monitor this throughout the year.
• Council Tax Reduction is available which can reduce the council tax charge due and we will complete an online form with residents that contact us in order to assist.
• We will also continue to work with all residents facing financial difficulty, and offer a supports to help alleviate any hardship through our Working4U service, including income maximisation, debt management and access to employment.
Information relating to council tax support for Argyll and Bute Council:
• The Council has considered its approach to the issue of Council Tax administration and collection this year. Whilst we have decided that there will be no blanket policy with regard to a two month council tax break, we are offering these terms on a case by case basis for anyone that contacts us to say that they will struggle to meet their liability in April and May.