Date Published: 11 December 2018
Rutland County Council is asking residents to get in touch if they are experiencing financial difficulties in the run-up to Christmas.
The festive period can bring extra expenses and place additional strain on families whose budgets are already tightly stretched.
Rutland County Council has a wide range of support services that can offer practical help, advice and financial assistance and is encouraging people make contact if they are struggling to pay their rent, Council Tax, or other expenses.
“We have dedicated support staff who are here to help all-year-round if you’re struggling to pay your Council Tax bill. We need to collect Council Tax so that we can fund important services like adult social care and children’s fostering. However, we also know some people struggle to pay bills, particularly around this time of year, and we want to help these households – we don’t want to send reminders so please tell us if you’re having trouble. The sooner you get in touch the more we can do to help.”
Councillor Gordon Brown, Portfolio Holder for Finance
The Council offers access to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support for eligible people who need help towards their rent or Council Tax.
Financial crisis support is also available if you're struggling due to sudden financial hardship, for example damage caused by a flood or fire, or if you have experienced a major relationship breakdown.
The Council can also assist by referring people to other support groups and services such as Citizens Advice Rutland and in extreme cases Rutland’s Crisis Support Fund can help by providing direct emergency help.
Discretionary Housing Payments can provide extra help towards rent for people receiving Housing Benefit or a housing element in their Universal Credit.
The Council is also backing a new free energy advice service for Rutland residents. Local Energy Advice Programme (LEAP) offers free in-home visits to any household in or at risk of fuel poverty. Residents receiving government benefits or allowances and those who meet certain health and vulnerability criteria may also be eligible.
Rutland County Council’s Scrutiny Commission recently published an in-depth report into poverty in Rutland which found there were more than 1,400 debt enquiries to the Rutland Citizens Advice in 2015/16.
Following on from the report, the Council is now exploring a range of measures to help reduce poverty in County and ensure people get the support they need.
“People need to know that it’s OK to ask for help. If you’re struggling financially, for whatever reason, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or try to hide it. We have specialist staff and services that can offer support, make life easier and help to resolve problems altogether. Don’t hesitate. Get in touch with us now.”
Councillor Gordon Brown
You can contact Rutland’s Revenues and Benefits Team by calling: 01572 722 577. You can also email: email@example.com regarding Council Tax or: firstname.lastname@example.org reading Housing Benefits.
You can contact Citizens Advice Rutland by calling: 01572 723494.