Millions struggling to pay council tax

Research from the University of Birmingham and the University of Lincoln shows that millions of people are struggling to pay council tax and other essential bills.

A new financial inclusion monitor report finds that nearly 1.6 million people are falling behind with council tax payments, with six in ten people in the poorest fifth of the population reporting they are in problem debt – mainly council tax payments, rent or utility bills.

Furthermore, nearly one million people are behind with their rent, while over one million people are behind on water bills. Nearly 2.2 million people report having been contacted by bailiffs and nearly one million experiencing bailiffs breaking the rules.

The financial inclusion monitor report also revealed that the rapid growth in zero hour contracts, witnessed since 2012, has now stabilised at nearly one million people in 2018, and that average weekly real earnings have still not quite recovered to their pre-financial crash levels.

Karen Rowlingson, co-author of the report, said: “The government is saying that austerity is over but our research shows that millions of people are still struggling to pay essential bills.  Much more needs to be done to increase income levels to help people make ends meet."