Hastings households owe £5m in unpaid council tax

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Hastings residents owe more than £5m in unpaid council tax – according to figures from a national charity.

Research by the National Debtline, a free advice service run by the charity Money Advice Trust, showed that households were behind on their bills by a cumulative total of £5,125,000 at the end of 2014/15, down from £5,774,000 the year before.

This equates to £120 homes per dwelling, the third highest figure across Sussex behind Brighton and Hove and Eastbourne.

The helpline received received 123 calls from Hastings residents in 2014.

Although Hastings Borough Council is the collecting authority East Sussex County Council and Sussex Police also set their own council tax precepts.

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said: “We are seeing more and more people seek help with council tax arrears – but the fact that Hastings residents owe £5,125,000 makes us concerned that many more people in the area are struggling alone. Free debt advice services such as National Debtline are here to help.

“We would like to see local authorities do everything they can to help residents who are falling behind to seek the free advice that can turn their lives around. We know that the earlier a problem is caught, the better the outcome.

“I would urge anyone in Hastings who is struggling to make their council tax payments to contact National Debtline as soon as possible. Our expert advisers are on hand to work through your situation and help you get back on track with your finances.”

National Debtline offers free, independent and confidential advice 24 hours a day online at www.nationaldebtline.org and on 0808 808 4000, Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm, Saturday 9.30am to 1pm.

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