The council is writing to 16,800 households who are in arrears with their council tax urging them to seek help immediately if they are finding it difficult to keep up with payments.
It is launching a new ‘Talk to Us’ campaign on its website and social media channels to encourage people to get in touch.
When people do get in touch, a dedicated team of trained advisors can talk through the available options, which may include:
- checking if someone is entitled to a council tax discount (eg single people, students and carers) or council tax reductions for people on a low income
- choosing the best way to pay
- choosing the best date to pay
- rescheduling payments over an extended payment period
- making a referral for free independent debt advice
Councillor Louise Miles, City of Wolverhampton Council's cabinet member for resources, said: “These are not easy times and we know that growing numbers of people are finding it difficult to pay their bills.
“The worst thing anyone can do is to ignore bills and reminder letters and hope they go away. I urge people to talk to us and our friendly team will do everything they can to help.
“The pandemic is causing rising unemployment and for some people, this might be the first time they have been in this position. There is no shame in talking about money problems and seeking help and advice.
“If you talk to us, there are things we can do to help such as making sure you are getting the correct discounts or reductions to your bill, rescheduling your payments over an extended period or making a referral for free and independent debt advice.”
With the ongoing effects of the pandemic leading to growing unemployment and rising numbers of people struggling financially, the council has increased the number of advisors in its welfare rights team and is working with partners including the Citizens Advice Bureau and Wolverhampton City Credit Union – a not for profit community bank which offers fair and affordable loans.