Sefton Council is thanking the Borough’s residents and businesses for their prompt payment of Council Tax and non-domestic rates, making the Borough’s collections the highest across the Liverpool City Region.
The Council remains committed to collecting all debts, as it pays for facilities and services including to some of the most vulnerable in our communities such as safeguarding children and providing vital support through Adult Social Care provision.
Despite the challenging circumstances that the health crisis has created, communities across Sefton have supported the Council in its collections during the last financial year, while the authority has also offered help to those struggling financially.
Sefton Council’s Council Tax collection rate stands at 95% and non-domestic rates at 96.4% for the year 2020/21. While both have decreased compared to the previous year as a result of the pandemic, the reduction is less than the average nationally, and put Sefton top across the Liverpool City Region according to latest figures published by the Government.
However, anyone continuing to face hardship is assured that there are solutions and advice available to support those struggling to pay their Council Tax or Business Rates.
Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulation and Compliance, said: “These high levels of collection will ensure we can continue to deliver vital services Borough-wide, for the residents and businesses paying them, despite the rollercoaster of a year we’ve all just faced.
“We will always fulfil our duty to collect fairly what is owed to us through Council Tax and Business Rates and we use that income to offer many valuable services. This remains a key issue for the Council and we will continue to work with our residents to get collections rates and incomes back up to pre-pandemic levels over the coming months.
“We do recognise that some people struggle to pay their Council Tax bills. If this is the case, please don’t suffer in silence and contact us as early as possible. This is particularly pertinent given the difficulties many have facing job uncertainty and reduced incomes owing to the pandemic.
“Help is available, and the earlier people get in touch regarding their debts, the quicker we can assist them.”
A wide range of advice and support is available to people facing difficulties paying Council Tax and other household bills. Council staff can put people in touch with organisations providing free, independent financial advice such as Citizens Advice Sefton, Sefton Advice Services, Sefton Credit Union, National Debt Line and the Step Change Debt Charity.
There are also a number of ways that people can reduce their Council Tax liability. These include the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme for people on a low income and the Exceptional Hardship Fund. And there are several discounts and exemptions including for people who are sole occupiers.
Similarly, eligible businesses have received Business Rates discounts and holidays during the last financial year, with further automatic discounts already applied in line with Government guidelines for the current year.
Cllr Lappin added: “Every 1% of Council Tax we collect, results in about £1.4m being spent on vital services that support our communities. It makes sense that the more we collect then the more we have to spend in the future.”
For more information, including help and advice on paying your council tax, please call 0345 140 0845 or visit www.sefton.gov.uk/counciltax
Information for businesses can be found on the dedicated support page of the Council’s website www.sefton.gov.uk/business/business-rates/covid-19-business-support-for-202021-202122/