COVID-19 - Council tax

Last updated: 17 August 2020 at 2pm

Following the government’s announcement of a new Hardship Fund to help vulnerable residents to pay their council tax, the borough council received further guidance on these measures.

All residents in the borough received payment free months in April and May 2020, instead of February and March 2021. No instalments, which includes direct debit payments, were taken in April and May. Payments resumed in June 2020 for 10 months from June 2020 to March 2021. Residents did not need to take any further action to benefit from this change.

Recalculated bills were sent out following this change to confirm your new instalment dates. The recalculated bill was issued in writing by post, unless you have signed up to receive your council tax bill by email in which case your recalculated bill was issued by email instead.

Working age residents who receive support though the Council Tax Reduction Scheme also received a further reduction on their council tax bills. This discount was automatically applied to eligible residents’ accounts and residents did not need to make a separate application for this reduction.

PDF document Discretionary Policy - Council Tax Hardship Fund (COVID-19)(PDF) [81 kb]

Council tax recovery

Since 7 July 2020 we have been sending out reminders informing residents that their instalments are overdue and included a leaflet which detailed the support which is available if anyone is experiencing financial difficulties.

The council will now continue with further recovery in line with legislation. If you receive a recovery document and you are unable to pay the instalments which are due please complete the offer of repayment form.

Unfortunately you are unable to visit the council offices to discuss your council tax as Parklands reception is closed to the public. The decision has been taken to protect residents and staff following the latest government advice around the COVID-19 outbreak.

Frequently asked questions

I currently receive support through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Will this continue?

Yes. In addition to the existing support you receive through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, if you are a working age claimant you will receive an additional reduction off your council tax bill. This will be automatically applied to your account and you do not need to do anything further

Who is included in the Council Tax Reduction Scheme?

The Council Tax Reduction Scheme is locally known as council tax support. It is available to people who may be on a low income and not able to pay their council tax instalments. Check our benefits advice webpage to find out it you might qualify. This does not include people who are in receipt of other statutory discounts, such as single person discount.

Does this support include OAPs?

The additional reduction is for those who receive support through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and only applies to working age claimants.

How can I make manual payments?

Find out how you can pay your council tax. Please note, payments cannot currently be accepted at Parklands as reception is closed to the public due to COVID-19. Please visit our website or refer to the back of your council tax bill for further information as to alternative methods of payment.

If the pandemic continues, what is the long term solution?

We will continue to monitor the advice and guidance provided by central government. As further information becomes available, we will inform residents accordingly of any changes which may impact their council tax.

Are there any plans to reduce council tax as a whole due to COVID-19?

There are currently no plans to reduce council tax as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19, please visit the Policy in Practice welfare support page, which will help you find out what support you may be eligible for.

Hardship Fund

The frequently asked questions below will help you if you have any queries about the Hardship Fund and if you claim Working Age Council Tax Support.

What is the Hardship Fund?

As part of its response to COVID-19, the government announced that it would provide local authorities in England with new grant funding to support economically vulnerable people and households in their local area.

Am I eligible for further help through the Hardship Fund?

A further reduction has been applied to all residents who are working age council tax support claimants. The level of support is as follows:

  • If your original bill for the year was over £200, a further reduction of £200 has been applied.

  • If your original bill for the year was under £200, your bill has been reduced to zero.

Do I need to apply for the reduction?

No. If you are a working age council tax support claimant, the reduction will have been automatically applied to your account and will be shown on the revised bill issued to you in May.

My bill shows Council Tax Discretionary Relief, what is this?

This figure represents the reduction you have received under the Hardship Fund.

If I have received a reduction, why are my instalments still starting in June?

The reduction has been split equally across your instalments for the remainder of the year.

Can this money be put towards clearing my council tax arrears instead?

No, the reduction must be applied to the current year’s council tax. However, if your reduced instalments mean you can now afford to increase the amount you pay towards your arrears monthly, please complete an offer of repayment form.

I do not currently claim council tax support. Can I claim the same reduction?

No. Reduction under the Hardship Fund has only been applied to working age council tax support claimants. Find out if you may be entitled to council tax support. If your claim is successful and you are of working age, the reduction under the hardship fund will automatically be applied to your account.

What happens if my entitlement/liability changes during the year?

If the amount of council tax support you receive or the amount you are liable to pay changes during the year, your entitlement to the reduction may also change. For example, if your total bill is currently £100, you will receive £100 reduction. If your circumstances change and your total bill goes up to £300, you will receive the maximum £200 reduction. Likewise, if your total bill is currently £200, you will receive the maximum £200 reduction. If your circumstances change and your balance goes below £200, the reduction will also go down to the reduced amount.

Council tax arrears

Please be aware NO council tax direct debits were taken in April and May for any instalments due on arrears. You will need to make manual payments for any instalments due in April and May.

I have an arrangement in place for my council tax arrears which I can no longer pay

If you have an arrangement in place and you don’t pay the instalments due we will continue to send reminders informing you that you have an instalment outstanding however we will not cancel this arrangement. We will allow you time to bring the instalments up to date. If you are unable to do this then the arrangement will cancel in June and we will inform you of this, at this time you will need to contact us to discuss a new arrangement, you can complete an online offer of repayment form or email

I have arrears on my council tax account which are with an enforcement agent which I can't pay

Please contact the enforcement agents directly, they will be able to discuss your options with you:


Telephone: 0330 363 9988


Telephone: 0845 658 5030

Ross and Roberts

Telephone: 01458 550480

Rossendale's Telephone: 0333 320 2155

Bristow and Sutor

Telephone: 0871 677 0070
Visit Bristow and Sutor website for contact details.

I have arrears that I can't pay but are not on an arrangement or with an enforcement agent, what can I do?

Contact us to discuss an arrangement.

Contact us

  • Contact us online
  • 01256 844844
  • Civic Offices
    London Road
    RG21 4AH
  • Opening hours
    Monday to Thursday
    8.30am to 5pm
    8.30am to 4.30pm
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