Money, benefits and paying the council

This information is aimed primarily at residents of Southampton regarding their personal cirumstances and finances. If you have your own business, you may find the information for businesses useful as well.

Council tax hardship scheme  

Last updated: 26 March 2020

Please see below for more information about the Council Tax Hardship Scheme 2020-21. Payments like this are designed to make up some or all of the shortfall between the help you already get and the amount of council tax you have to pay.

Who will receive this support?

You will automatically receive this support if you already receive working age local council tax support.

If you don’t already receive this support, you can make a claim for discretionary council tax support. Read the eligibility criteria.

How much is the support worth?

£150 per claimant for the tax year starting 1 April 2020.

If you move into a property for the first time after 1 April 2020, you will be awarded up to £150 based on the date you move into the property.

For example, if you move out after six months you retain £75 towards your closing bill.

For example, if you moved into the property and are eligible for council tax support six months into the year you would be awarded an additional £75 towards your bill.

How is the support being rolled out?

The sum of £150 will be applied to your 2020-21 council tax bill by 1 April 2020. Your amended bill will be issued promptly and will show your updated instalments.

What happens if I move partway through the year?

If you claim this support and move, the amount will be amended to reflect the period of time you were eligible for it at that property. This will allow the next occupant of the property if eligible for council tax support to be awarded the remaining part of award.

When you move into a new property, new council tax support claimants will be awarded up to £150 based on the date the claim started. If the property was previously occupied by someone who claimed the £150 award and you are eligible for council tax support you will receive the remaining balance.

If property is occupied by council tax support claimant for first time then they will be awarded value up to £150 based on the date they move into the property.

For example, if you moved into the property and are eligible for council tax support six months into the year you would be awarded an additional £75 towards your bill.

What do I do next?

If you already receive council tax support, you don’t need to do anything.

If you do not already receive this support, you can read the eligibility criteria and then follow the instructions to make a claim.

Spread your council tax payments 

Last updated: 31 March 2020

One option to help you manage your money is to change how you spread your council tax payments.

If you're on a 10 month direct debit

You will have two months between April 2020 and March 2021 when you don't make council tax payments. These are usually February and March 2021. You can ask us to change your non-payment months to a different two months.

  • If your next direct debit is due on 8, 15 or 23 April 2020, you can start your two non-payment months from April if you want to.
  • If your next direct debit is due on 1 April 2020, the earliest you can start your non-payment months will be May onwards. If you are unable to make your payment on 1 April, please cancel your direct debit and discuss your options with us.

Alternatively, you may prefer to spread your payments over 12 months.

If you’re currently on a 12 month direct debit

You can ask us to condense your payments over 10 months instead. You can choose which two months are your non-payment months, as described above. For instance, you could choose May and June 2020 as your non-payment months.

Next steps

Please contact us online, by telephone or by webchat to make any of the changes described above. You do not need to cancel your direct debit unless your next payment is due on 1 April 2020 and you cannot afford to pay at this time.

If you're worried about paying the council during COVID-19 

Last updated: 30 March 2020

We appreciate this is a difficult time and people are worried about their finances. As a council we want to do everything we can to support you.

If you can’t pay us your rent, council tax or any other council bill, please see the other information on this page for some options. We have for a temporary period suspended all recovery action to reduce the pressure you are experiencing and allow you time to discuss with us a payment option. If you still need help, please contact us:

Money and benefits  

Last updated: 1 April 2020

Work and pay: We understand people having to self-isolate may have concerns about whether they will get paid while they are away from work. Here is the government advice on what you need to discuss with your employer. Statutory sick pay and other financial support is available.

Mortgages and credit cards: Three-month mortgage holidays and credit card forbearance will be available for those who are struggling. Contact your bank to discuss.

Gas and electric pre-pay meters: If you are having problems topping up due to social isolation or having financial difficulties please contact your utility provider. If you are not sure who your supplier, use Find My Supplier.

Help with housing costs (rent and council tax): If you are struggling to pay your rent, please contact your landlord urgently. There is also information further up this page on the council tax hardship scheme and information below on claiming benefits.

Claiming benefits

If you are worried about money or are struggling now, please read our full update on coronavirus and benefits.

Cash Office 

The Cash Office will be closed from 12pm on Tuesday 24 March 2020 until further notice. You can pay the council online.