Charities say ‘huge issue’ of arrears is now as big a problem as credit card debts

Council tax debts in England have soared by nearly 40% in six years, Guardian research has found, with charities warning these arrears now rival credit card debts as their biggest concern.

Amid warnings that “heavy-handed” collection tactics are putting severe pressure on those already in financial difficulty, households face a fourth consecutive year of above-inflation council tax rises as local authorities attempt to recoup money cut from their budgets by central government. The annual band D bill will rise by an average of £75.60.

Related: The woman jailed for a £4,742 council tax debt she could not pay

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