Almost 430,000 Scots have been unable to pay their council tax bills after running out of cash, research has revealed.
Polling for the advice charity Citizens Advice Scotland found that in the last year almost a third (32%) of people had run out of money before pay day – the date when they received their wages or pension or benefit payments.
That equates to 1.42 million adults being short of funds, it calculated.
Of this group 30% – approximately 426,000 people – had been unable to pay their council tax.
Almost one in 10 (9%) of those who had run out of funds said they had been unable to pay council tax bills more than six times in the last 12 months
Citizens Advice Scotland released the results of the poll, carried by YouGov, at a time when many household budgets are coming under increased pressure, with the end in the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and the increase in the energy cap forcing up fuel bills.
The charity’s financial health spokesman Myles Fitt said: “Council tax debt is the biggest debt issue the Citizens Advice network sees, and it’s concerning that so many people are missing payments because they have run out of money.
“The ending of furlough and other pandemic-related financial support measures will have a significant impact on many, but other emerging cost pressures are creating a perfect financial storm on household budgets this autumn, and there is real concern that more and more people will struggle to meet council tax payments as a result.”
He urged anyone in need of advice regarding money or bills to contact Citizens Advice, saying: “We have a range of options for people to get advice from their local CAB, our online advice site, or through our online self-help tools for making savings on council tax – www.checkmycounciltax.scot – or more generally by boosting incomes and cutting costs via www.moneymap.scot.”
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