Councils across England are facing a combined deficit of more than half a billion pounds for the 2020-21 financial year, after council tax intake plummeted in the majority of areas.
Data from the Ministry of Housing, Local Government and Communities shows North Kesteven District Council will have to address an estimated shortfall of £568,640.75, which is the deficit in council tax expected to be collected in North Kesteven in 2020/21 by NKDC as the billing authority in the District.
This figure includes the precepts for Lincolnshire County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner as well as North Kesteven District Council.
The council tax deficit for North Kesteven District Council itself stood at just over £81,000 for the year 2020/21.
Leader of North Kesteven District Council Councillor Richard Wright said: “We understand that the Covid pandemic has and continues to place pressure on households in North Kesteven along with other individual circumstances they may be facing, and we’re working hard to support those who are experiencing difficulty in any way.
“We’ve a range of help available including through Council Tax Support, and our hardship fund of more than £500,000 established at the beginning of the pandemic has helped taxpayers throughout the last year and continues to be utilised. Our teams can talk households through further options and any eligibility for other, additional assistance that’s available.
“We’re also working incredibly hard to ensure people get the support they need through this time of increased demand during the pandemic – for example our Revenues and Benefits team processed new Housing Benefit claims over four days quicker in 2020/21 than in the previous year while also distributing new tranches of financial help including Covid self-isolation support grants.”
A spokesman for NKDC added that 98 percent of council tax expected in the year 2020/21 was paid, compared to 99.5 percent the previous year, and work continues on the remainder, for example households supported through agreed payment arrangements stretched over longer terms still ongoing at the time of these figures.
"The District Council receives around 10 percent of the Council Tax bill but provides services across more than 80 different output areas including revenues and benefits, waste and recycling, and public protection, with high levels of customer satisfaction.
"In addition, as part of the Council’s commitment to £230 million of capital investment over the next decade to ensure our communities flourish, it is delivering on its vision for North Kesteven with new homes, jobs, improved leisure and heritage, and a focus on becoming carbon neutral and biodiversity."
Mr Wright added: “The council continues to work hard to support those in difficulty including identifying such options with them, looking at eligibility for help including its Council Tax support scheme and signposting to other assistance they may qualify for. The Council also continues to provide help through its hardship support scheme. Anyone who feels they are in difficulty is encouraged to speak with the Council’s team about their options.
"I’d urge anyone who is facing financial difficulty not to keep struggling on in silence, but to pick up the phone and speak with us about how we can help. Just call on 01529 414155 or there’s more information on our website, including a benefits calculator."