Public reminded what to expect as new Council Tax bills delivered
As council tax bills start being delivered to homes across the Westmorland and Furness area this week, the public are being reminded that the new bills will be different to before.
Westmorland and Furness Council will officially take over responsibility for all council services across the Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland areas from 1 April and the existing Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District councils, along with Cumbria County Council, will be dissolved.
But as the new council tax authority, the bills for 2023/24, which will be delivered this week, will feature the Westmorland and Furness Council logo, not the current district councils.
The paper bill people receive is usually the only way the council will be in contact. If people receive a phone call, email or letter with different or unfamiliar contact details, it might be a scam. Please contact the council to check.
The total council tax charge is made up of separate charges from Westmorland and Furness Council (a standard charge plus a charge specifically for adult social care), Cumbria Police, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and, for most households, your parish or town council.
Each organisation is responsible for deciding how much council tax it charges.
This year, for the first time, there is a separate charge for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, because from 1 April they will be a stand-alone organisation, not part of the council.
For people who already pay their council tax by Direct Debit, that will transfer automatically to Westmorland and Furness Council. This is part of the legal transition from the old councils.
But in April only, Direct Debit payments will be taken from accounts on 6 April. This is a different date to normal. After April, payments will be taken on the day people have been used to (either the 1st or 15th day of the month). If you pay by Standing Order, you may need to update the details of the order to ensure payment is made.
Included with bills will be more information about the new council, the area it covers, and what its priorities are.
Also included will be information about the council tax reduction scheme, which is available to low-income households and could mean up to a 100% reduction in what you pay.
Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Andrew Jarvis, said: “The new bills will look different to those people have been used to, and will include charges from different organisations, not just Westmorland and Furness Council.
“We know that scammers can sometimes try to exploit changes like this, so be alert and contact us if you are concerned.
“I would also stress that if anyone is worried about how they will pay their bill then they should also get in touch. We have agreed a council tax reduction scheme to support people on low incomes and it is important that people don’t miss out if they are eligible.”
Until April 1, people should contact their current District/Borough Council with any questions, after 1 April all contact should be made to Westmorland and Furness Council at westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk or by calling 0300 373 3300.