Council Tax, benefits and welfare

Council Tax recovery

We appreciate that this is a difficult time for many of our residents and that the COVID-19 virus is having a significant impact on the economy.

Your Council Tax pays for our essential services that are delivered to all residents, so it is really important that if your circumstances have not changed that you continue to pay what you should, maintain your direct debit payments, or payment plan, as detailed on your bill.

If you’re struggling to pay your Council Tax, we wanted to make you aware of the support available and how the council can help you if you have been affected.

  • Make sure that you have claimed all of the benefits that you are entitled to. For working age families visit Universal Credit from the DWP and our Council Tax Reduction web page
  • Get in touch with us. We would encourage anyone who is struggling, to contact us at [email protected]  so that we can ensure that you are getting all of the support that you are entitled to.
  • We can also look at your arrears so that we consider everything you owe to us and avoid any extra costs or charges.

Given the demands on our contact centre, we would request that all contact is via email to [email protected] . We will reply quickly.

Is there any financial help I can get with my Council Tax?

If you need help to pay your Council Tax, you should claim Council Tax Reduction, which will then be assessed based on your personal circumstances.

When making a Universal Credit claim you must indicate that you are happy for your data to be shared with the council, and an application for Council Tax Reduction will then be processed.  

For customers who cannot claim Universal Credit, you must make a claim for Council Tax Reduction

I can’t pay my Council Tax this month?

It is important that you keep in touch with the Council Tax Service and let us know if you are going to miss a payment or not pay the full amount. If you have any questions email us at [email protected]

The council may help with Council Tax costs and you should claim Council Tax Reduction.

How can we help?

If you are having difficulty making payment, please contact us to discuss this and the payment options which may be available to you. 

Given the demands on our contact centre, we would request that all contact is via email to [email protected]. We will reply quickly

You can also get free, independent, confidential and impartial advice from your local Citizens' Advice office

Benefits and welfare

Crisis Grant - Scottish Welfare Fund

A crisis grant is a money given to those in financial crisis. The grant is tax free and you don't have to pay it back.

The Scottish Government has made additional funds available to help people affected by COVID-19. If you are no longer able to work or have had hours reduced, and do not have any savings or other sources of income, we may be able to help. 

If you have made a claim for a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) benefit and you have not received a payment yet, apply for a DWP Hardship Payment, a Short Term Benefit Advance or a Universal Credit advance payment before applying for a Crisis Grant.

You won't qualify for a grant if you have already applied for the same item in the last 28 days, unless your circumstances have changed.

The Test and Protect Service has told me to self-isolate and I can't work from home. Is there any financial help?

If you are told by the Test and Protect Service to self-isolate because of close contact with someone who has Covid-19, you may be eligible for a £500 lump sum.

I am on a zero hours contract and have been laid off, what do I do?

You may be eligible for Universal Credit to help with your living costs which includes help towards your rent.

You will have to apply as a couple if you and your partner live together but you do not need to be married.

You might also need to phone the Universal Credit helpline to book an interview with a work coach. You’ll be told if you need to do this after you apply.

You should also claim for help with your Council Tax, as you may be entitled to a Council Tax Reduction.  

Universal Credit helpline

  • Call 0800 328 5644
  • Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

I am self-employed and am not earning enough to pay my bills?

You may be eligible for Universal Credit to help with your living costs; this includes help towards your rent. 

You will have to apply as a couple if you and your partner live together but you do not need to be married.

You might also need to phone the Universal Credit helpline to book an interview with a work coach. You’ll be told if you need to do this after you apply.

You should also claim for help with your Council Tax, as you may be entitled to a Council Tax Reduction.  

Important information for self-employed residents

Normally if you are self-employed and have low income levels your Universal Credit payment may be calculated using an assumed level of earnings, called a Minimum Income Floor. It’s based on what an employed person on minimum wage would expect to earn in similar circumstances. If you earn more than this, then your Universal Credit amount is based on your actual earnings.

The government however has temporarily removed this minimum income floor and will calculate your Universal Credit based on your actual earnings.

Universal Credit helpline

  • Call 0800 328 5644
  • Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

I am off sick with coronavirus, what are the rules?

As part of the Government’s strategy to support people affected by this public health emergency, The Department for Works and Pensions is making a number of changes to its benefit processes to ensure people who need financial help have access to the benefit system. 

I have less income this month and cannot pay my rent?

Whether your landlord is a private or social landlord, it is important that you keep in touch with them and let them know if you are going to miss a payment or not pay the full amount.
The Department for Works and Pensions can help with living and rent costs and you should claim Universal Credit.

The Universal Credit money I get for rent does not cover the full amount of rent I have to pay? 

Discretionary Housing Payments can help if you are struggling to pay your rent and have as shortfall between the amount paid in housing costs and your actual rent charge.

To be considered for a Discretionary Housing Payment you must either:

My landlord is going to evict me because I won’t be able to pay my rent this month?

Whether your landlord is a private or social landlord, it is important that you keep in touch with them and let them know if you are going to miss a payment or not pay the full amount.

The Department for Works and Pensions can help with living and rent costs and you should claim Universal Credit.

If legal action is being taken against you because you owe money, get free support and advice from local citizens advice office

I can't pay my mortgage, what do I do? 

Home Owners' Support Fund

If you're at risk of having your home repossessed, the Scottish Government's Home Owners' Support Fund may be able to help you.

It's made up of two schemes:

  • Mortgage to Shared Equity – the Scottish Government buys a stake in your property so you can reduce your secured loan(s)
  • Mortgage to Rent – this allows a social landlord to buy your home, and you'll continue to live there as a tenant

Find out more about the Home Owners' Support Fund.

Help to pay mortgage interest

If you're a home owner getting certain income related benefits, you might be eligible for the Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme. This is help towards interest payments on: