Help for those facing redundancy

PUBLISHED: 11:27 24 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:48 15 June 2010

DESPITE Christmas and New Year being a happy time for many families, East Devon District Council realises that this year it will be a worrying season for many.

DESPITE Christmas and New Year being a happy time for many families, East Devon District Council realises that this year it will be a worrying season for many.With four Woolworths stores closing across the district as well as other shops, plus Lyme Bay Holiday Village in Seaton and a number of building companies laying off staff, there are sadly going to be lots of families finding it hard to pay the bills. And it's easy for debts to build up.That's why EDDC has some timely advice for people who may be in danger of getting into arrears with their Council Tax or Rent payments.The message to them is: Don't wait a day longer than you have to before contacting us if you need help. Every month you leave it is another month that will be added to the arrears total, which cannot be changed once it has built up.Advice for anyone in needAndrew Moulding, EDDC's Portfolio Holder Resources, said: "If people contact us as soon as they realise they are getting into difficulty, we can start to look at the situation straight away. That way, we may be able to give advice before the debt has built up into a really significant and worrying amount".EDDC's Housing and Council Tax staff are trained to give advice to people on low incomes or on benefit as to any concessions that may be available. The offer applies to anyone paying council house rent, council tax or business rates.The Council Offices will be closed over the Christmas and New Year holiday, but will reopen on Friday 2 January at 8.30 a.m.Councillor Moulding added: "We would be more than willing to talk to people about any payment problems they may be having in terms of their council tax or rent. We want to get involved at an early stage rather than having to sort out the difficult tangles that can happen if people put off the problem, hoping it will go away. If we can lighten the burden for people, it may make it easier for them to deal with their other bills". Council tax, rent and housing benefitsEDDC is a high performing council and now has one of the highest collection rates for council tax in the country - which helps all of our tax payers. These improvements have been achieved by actively working with our customers in order to find different ways to help.We want to make sure everyone gets the help they are entitled to. For example, from 27 October all child maintenance payments are no longer taken into account when allocating housing and council tax benefits. If you're not sure whether you might be entitled to housing or council tax benefit, please speak to one of our advisors. There is also a wide range of other discounts we can give on council tax.If you are worried that you may run into difficulties paying your council tax or rent, don't delay - get in touch with us now. Business ratesIf the rateable value of your premises is below £15,000 you could get small business rate relief, subject to certain criteria. Even if you are not entitled to a reduction, if you are having difficulties paying your rates help us to help you by getting in touch with us now. Ring between 8.30 a.m. and 5 p.m. or check our website to find out more:

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