Manchester Council is offering support for those struggling to pay their council tax in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Acknowledging this is a difficult time for many residents, the council has put together a range of measures to help those who have been affected get through the next few months.
Those with affected wages can apply for a special payment plan so that council tax due for 2020/21 is split over nine months from July 2020 to March 2021. In some cases, this would mean eligible people will not have to pay anything for three months.
The council has also said it will look at arrears in order to consider everything that is owed and help residents ‘avoid any extra costs or charges’.
That being said, it is important to remember that your council tax pays for essential services that are delivered to all residents in the city, including contributions to the police, fire and rescue, waste disposal and transport services.
So if your circumstances have not changed it is important that you continue to pay what you should and maintain any direct debits or payment plans.
New advice published on the Council Tax benefits and support page today also states that Magistrate Court hearings due to be held on 26th March and 2nd April have been cancelled.
Those due to appear will have the summons cancelled and associated costs removed from their account.
Services have now moved online, with residents encouraged to get in touch via email to access the support being made available.
If you are making a new claim for Universal Credit in Manchester, the council will treat your Universal Credit claim as a Council Tax Support claim provided you say that you want to claim Council Tax Support at the same time.
The news comes as government ministers today announce they will be introducing a £500m hardship fund to increase help for working-age people who currently get Council Tax Support.
The expectation is for councils to use this to reduce bills of everyone eligible by £150 a year.
For residents of pension-age who may not be eligible for Council Tax Support, there is also the option to apply for a Second Adult Rebate. This provides pensioners with a 25% reduction where another adult living with them prevents them from accessing a discount or exemption from Council Tax.