RESIDENTS who fall behind on council tax payments are being told that ignoring reminders is not the solution.

Following on from benefit changes last year, there was a small increase in the number of people who fell behind on council tax payments.

Now schemes are being put together to help people who are falling behind.

In the last financial year more than 14,000 summonses were issued and 7,200 were passed to debt enforcement agencies.

The council wants to improve the way people are reminded and work with those who are struggling to help them pay their debt.

Coun Russell Holland (Con, St Margaret and South Marston), cabinet member for finance, said: “There are a number of reasons why residents fail to pay their council tax promptly.

“There are some residents who can afford to pay but are trying to delay or evade payment. But others are also having financial difficulties or may not be prioritising their finances.”

New methods of reminding people are being brought in. Text messages are being sent out to mobiles, data matching is also being set up between Housing and Children’s services and the council tax database in an attempt to identify households which may be vulnerable.

A pilot scheme is also to be set up whereby residents who are due a summons receive a phone call to try and establish a way of arranging affordable payments.

Anyone facing council tax problems can call 0345 3022316.