Email Scam - Council Tax Refunds

We’re aware that a number of people have received emails stating that they are due a Council Tax refund and been asked to provide their bank account, credit or debit card details in order to receive it. In some cases they have been asked for a fee to claim a refund. If you receive such an email then it is a scam. Do not click on any links and report it to the Action Fraud website.

Report fraud and cyber crime to Action Fraud

Council tax hardship fund

We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, especially the most vulnerable members of our society.  If you are isolated by coronavirus and need help, please ring 01524 582000 or email customerservices@lancaster.gov.uk, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.

New grant funding

As part of its response to Covid-19, the government has provided local authorities in England with £500 million of new grant funding to support economically vulnerable people and households in their local area.

In Lancaster we have received £1.425 million and the government has given us guidance on how we should spend it.

How are you spending the money?

Lancaster remains one of the few billing authorities to offer 100% support to working age residents. Most of the money will be used for people who have successfully claimed a reduction in their bill this year through our Council Tax Support scheme 2020/21 and still have something to pay. These people will receive an additional reduction to their council tax bill. If the bill payer is due to pay less than £300 the remaining balance will be reduced to zero. This means they will either:

  • have nothing to pay
  • have their bill reduced by up to a further £300

There is no need to apply for this additional support and awards should be posted to individual council tax accounts by the end of August 2020. There is no need to apply. Any money left over will be placed in a reserve for future use in helping households in hardship because of Covid 19. 

Your council tax

We would like to thank residents who are able to continue to pay their Council Tax as their contribution is helping us maintain essential services. If your circumstances have not been affected by the coronavirus, please continue to pay your Council Tax as detailed on your bill.

About council tax support

Because of Covid-19 I have applied for Universal Credit. Does this mean I will get my council tax paid automatically?

No, you will need to claim a council tax reduction separately.  If you apply, and are entitled to council tax support for any period during 2020/21, you will automatically get up to an extra £300 hardship fund payment.

I have not claimed Universal Credit but my income has gone down. Can I claim a council tax reduction?

Council tax support is for low incomes, not just Universal Credit, so you may be able to claim a reduction. Check your eligibility and make a claim.

You can also use the government’s benefit calculator to find out if you’re entitled to any further help.

Is the council still collecting council tax?

Yes, but we are taking steps to ensure that we support our residents through the period of lockdown and through the following weeks when the area is getting back on its feet.

Covid-19: changes to council tax collection

From April 2020 to June 2020 we will not actively pursue any council tax arrears for households affected by Covid 19:

  • we have cancelled all action taken through the magistrates courts until July
  • we may be able to agree to special payment plans where council tax is due for 2020/21. Please contact us for more information
  • if you are struggling financially we can offer advice and assistance

However, if your circumstances haven’t changed, it’s really important that you continue to pay.

If I am waiting to hear about a council tax support claim or a change I’ve requested, what should I do about payment?

We would advise you to make a sensible decision regarding what you can afford to pay in the interim.