Help available for those struggling with Council Tax

DORSET Council has encouraged residents who may be struggling to pay their Council Tax during the coronavirus epidemic to get in touch. 

If your financial circumstances have changed in recent weeks and are are having difficulties paying your tax in the West Dorset area, call 01305 211970 or email revenueservices@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

The Council Tax team will discuss your particular circumstances with you and find the best solution for you. There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ answer – advisers will suggest the best solution for each individual or household, depending on the circumstances.

 The volume of calls to the council has increased at this time so they ask those calling to be patient. If you are unable to hold, email your enquiry instead.  

Council Tax Hardship Fund

 Help has been made available for the most vulnerable residents struggling to pay their Council Tax as part of the government’s £500million COVID-19 Hardship Fund, with £2.6million allocated to Dorset Council.

The council will be able to provide further Council Tax relief via this scheme. Government has made it clear that additional funding is to firstly allow working-age residents who already receive Council Tax support to receive a further discount of up to £150.

Cllr Tony Ferrari, portfolio holder for Finance, Commercial and Assets at Dorset Council, said: “Those who will benefit initially don’t need to do anything, we will issue revised bills for them as soon as we can.

 “Our revenues and benefits team are working with partners to understand who will benefit and how much they will receive. Then we will consider how to make relief available to others in hardship with what is left of our allocation.”

What if there are remaining funds?

Any remaining funds will be allocated to the most in need throughout the financial year. Dorset Council is working on amendments to existing policy to enable it to correctly administer these funds to support the most vulnerable customers.

 If you think you may qualify for Council Tax support, visit https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/benefits/council-tax-support/council-tax-support.aspx or call Dorset Council to discuss your circumstances.

Why can’t Council Tax payments be cancelled during the outbreak? 

Council Tax pays for our essential services that are – now more than ever – vitally important to Dorset’s most vulnerable people and a whole range of different services that still need to be paid for.

Residents are helping to support the police and fire service as well as Dorset Council and town and parish councils. Without the income from council tax, these authorities cannot pay for vital services. Many, if not all, services would grind to a halt with bin collections, social care and support to vulnerable children severely impacted. 

But Dorset Councils says it appreciates that people may be struggling at this difficult time, and encourages residents to get in contact to ensure they are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to.  

For more details on Universal Credit visit www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

For information on Council Tax Support visit www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/benefits/council-tax-support/council-tax-support.aspx

Follow LymeOnline’s live updates on coronavirus for the latest news and advice, including how the outbreak is affecting the local area.

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About Francesca Evans 2542 Articles
Francesca grew up in Lyme Regis and has worked in community journalism in the area since 2011, having gained a First Class Honours degree in journalism and her NCTJ qualifications at Southampton Solent University.

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