The Scottish Government must do more to take more low-income families out of paying council tax, a charitable trust has recommended.
The Robertson Trust has published research which says 12% of low-income households are behind on their council tax bills.
Their report on debt and arrears in Scotland said 51% of those in council arrears have had to cut back on meal sizes in order to save money.
It said there should be a pause on collecting debt arrears until April 2023 and the debts of some low-income households – defined as the bottom two-fifths of incomes – should be written off.
In addition, it said all those receiving Universal Credit should be removed from paying council tax.
As part of the research, 4,232 survey responses were collected through ScotPulse in late October and early November.
The Robertson Trust’s Russell Gunson said: “The cost-of-living emergency is increasingly becoming a debt crisis for many low-income families in Scotland.
“The Scottish Government deserves credit for increasing the Scottish Child Payment for low-income families with children.
“And the UK Government is providing help with energy bills, albeit inadequate for many.
“But, too often, government bodies are robbing Peter to pay Paul, giving with one hand and taking with the other through over-zealous debt collection.”
He continued: “Our research shows that it’s money owed to public bodies that’s often toppling family finances over the edge.
“At the Scottish Government’s budget this coming Thursday, we are likely to see increases in council tax to help balance the books.
“But we can’t balance the books on the backs of low-income families in Scotland.”
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