At the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, we offered to defer instalments due for April and May, and to extend the payment period to 15 March 2021, for those who were suffering financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic. Many customers applied for this and we hope that it helped them to rearrange their finances and get through the first difficult period.

We also paid out central government grants to businesses, and additional Council Tax Support to people on low incomes.

However, we are pleased that throughout that time, the majority of customers managed to maintain their instalments, and we want to say a big thank you for that; because the money was vital to maintain all the services that we, the County Council, the Fire and Police services, and your local town and parish council needed to provide.

We still need to pay for these services, so as businesses (and most of their employees) start to return to work, we will shortly be sending reminders to those who have got behind with their payments.

We ask that you check that your Council Tax and Business Rates monthly payments are up to date – if they are not, you can make a payment online or use our automated payment line 01480 388165. Please quote your Council Tax or Business Rates reference. Better still, why not set up a Direct Debit? It’s quick and easy and means you don’t have to remember to pay each month.

Council Tax customers can check whether their instalments are up to date, and get other information about their Council Tax account, by signing up to our Customer Portal.

Council Tax customers that are on a low income (including those on Universal Credit) can check whether they may be entitled to receive Council Tax Support. If we have already contacted you by email or letter to say you would be entitled Council Tax Support we encourage you to claim this additional help straight away.

If you would like further financial advice, you can contact Citizens Advice on 0344 245 1292 or see their website.