New legislation removing threat of prison over unpaid council tax introduced today in Wales
New council tax legislation has been introduced today which removes the power to imprison someone for not paying their council tax .
The new legislation also exempts young people up to the age of 25 and leaving care from paying council tax.
The Welsh Government says the changes are the latest in a series of measures “designed to make council tax fairer, protecting some of Wales’ most vulnerable individuals from the increasing financial pressures they are facing at a time when they need it most.”
Alongside the legislative changes the Welsh Government and local authorities in Wales say they will take a more “consistent and people-focused approach to debt, arrears and enforcement with the introduction of the Council Tax Protocol for Wales.”
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:
“We know that households are struggling to cope with the UK government’s welfare reform and I want to make sure the Welsh Government and our local authorities are doing everything we can to help.
This new legislation is another positive step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go.
We will continue to work closely with local authorities, the WLGA and third sector organisations to examine how the council tax system could be improved over the short, medium and longer term.”
Councillor Mary Sherwood (Swansea), Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) spokesperson for Equalities, Welfare Reform and Anti-Poverty said:
“The Council Tax Protocol for Wales is a step-change in our approach to debt and arrears and will focus on early engagement with tax payers.
It also promotes closer working relationships with our partners in the advice sector and enforcement agents to ensure that problems don’t needlessly spiral out of control for vulnerable people.
We look forward to building upon these measures with Welsh Government.”
Householders may be entitled to pay less council tax.
The Welsh Government has joined forces with local authorities, MoneySavingExpert.com and third sector organisations to “develop simple and consistent advice to ensure all households in Wales have the information they need about their entitlements to council tax support.”
The move follows last year’s successful campaign and comes at a time when householders in Flintshire have faced two years of unprecedented hikes on their council tax bills.
Flintshire has seen its biggest ever council tax rise with residents facing an extra £103 added to their bill an 8.75 per cent rise on last year.
The rise came despite warnings people in the county are already facing financial difficulties with some relying on food banks to feed their families.
Councillors said they were left with little option but to put rates up by som much in light of the £3.1m budget gap facing them in 2019/20.
Householders may be entitled to pay less council tax if they:
Live on a low income
Live alone, or with people or children who do not pay council tax
Are a student
Are a carer
Are mentally impaired.
Find out if you are eligible to pay less Council Tax: Click here
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