COUNCIL tax arrears have been on the rise in Herefordshire over recent years, it has been revealed.

Data released by Herefordshire Council in response to a freedom of information request shows steady increases in the number of people in council tax arrears across Herefordshire between 2018 and 2024.

Over this six-year period, the increase in the number of people who are in council tax arrears and being sent liability orders has increased substantially. The number of people struggling with the rising cost of living could be the main reason, with fuel and food costs having climbed significantly over the past few years.

In 2018 to 19, the number of people in tax arrears was 5,480 and rose considerably to 6,089 in 2022 to 23. Currently, 6,178 people are in council tax arrears demonstrating yet another growth.

The number of liability orders sent out in 2021 to 22 was 4,584 but fell in 2022 to 23 to 4,098 despite the rise of people in council tax arrears. In 2023 to 24, a huge 4,727 liability orders were issued to members of Herefordshire.

What is Herefordshire's average council tax bill?

In Herefordshire, the average band D council tax bill is £2,329.51 annually, equating to £194.13 a month.

It goes towards funding services that are provided by the council such as highway maintenance and transportation, waste collection and disposal, and adult social care.

What is being in council tax arrears?

Being in council tax arrears means that you have missed a council tax payment and therefore owe money to the council.

What are liability orders?

Two weeks after a missed payment, the council will send you a reminder, if you pay within seven days then no further action is needed to be taken.

If you don’t pay within this period, you will receive a ‘final notice’ where you are expected to pay the entirety of the rest of your yearly council tax within seven days.

Failing to comply with this will likely result in the council applying to the courts for permission to collect this ‘debt’ from you – this is known as a ‘liability order’.

How to get help

If you have missed a council tax payment you should contact your council immediately, ask to speak to someone in the council tax office and tell them about your situation. They should be able to offer support and guidance on your next steps.