Bristol residents struggling to pay Council Tax due to the coronavirus pandemic have been reassured support is in place.
Bristol City Council already offers a reduction in Council Tax for people who are financially struggling.
But now those whose situations have recently changed because of coronavirus can also apply to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
Residents immediately worried about paying Council Tax for the next few months will not be penalised – as no interest will not build up if they miss payments.
The council says it will be in touch to talk about missed payments and support people to pay at a later date – including offering help with payment plans or monthly installments.
Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: “The council is responding to the worst public health crisis in recent times, and Council Tax pays for critical front line services, many of which are seeing unprecedented demand during the pandemic.
“We really need people who can still afford to pay Council Tax to keep paying.
“The pandemic has also affected people’s lives financially, and people are genuinely worried about how they will pay their bills.
“Please be reassured that the council will do all we can within our powers to support those people who are struggling. If your circumstances have changed please apply as soon as possible for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.”
But in response to calls for cancelling Council Tax or creating a ‘Council Tax Holiday’ the Mayor said “no council in the country could cancel Council Tax.”
He added: “What we can do, and what we are doing, is making sure people who genuinely can’t afford to pay Council Tax don’t. Furthermore those who are struggling will not be penalised for missing a payment.
“Any fall in Council Tax affects our ability to provide emergency services, so those that are able to continue paying as normal should do.”
The council’s fully funded Council Tax Reduction Scheme is a means-tested reduction on Council Tax payments.
Funding from Central Government will provide additional support up to £150 this year for some working age households.
Anyone who thinks they are eligible for a reduction in their Council Tax should contact Bristol City Council Benefits Service by using the Council Tax general enquiry form: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/council-tax/general-enquiry-form