Help is available for people in Bolton who are struggling to pay their council tax.

This comes after findings under the Freedom of Information Act revealed more than £43million is owed in unpaid council tax across Bolton while 13,000 were taken to court over the last year.

At a council meeting earlier in February, the authority agreed to raise council tax by around five per cent while making cuts in a bid to plug the council’s finances.

Addressing the meeting council leader Cllr Nick Peel said: "This budget is about making these cuts the safest possible in order to protect services.

"It is about cross-party consensus across the council chamber, as unpalatable as it is, a rise in council tax has to go ahead in order to prevent a worse situation."

The Bolton News: Bolton Council has measures to help people who are strugglingBolton Council has measures to help people who are struggling (Image: Newsquest)

The cuts to budgets for the next financial year, starting in April, were made after years of cuts from central government to local authorities all around  the country.

But in the face of the mounting cost of living crisis the authority has still kept measures in place for people who are struggling to pay council tax.

People on low incomes may be able to apply for help with their council tax, whether they are working or unemployed.

But people still need to pay 17.5 per cent of their bill unless they are of pension credit age.

People can apply for council tax support if the live at the property in question and pay council tax.

They also need to have a low income, or are entitled to a benefit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions or the Pension Service.

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Finally, to be eligible, people need to have capital of less than £3000 if they are of working age, or £16,000 if they are of pension credit age.

Anyone claiming support will need to submit evidence in support of their claim including proof of earnings and residency.

Advice is also available from groups like debt charity StepChange, which maintains a free helpline for anyone who is in need.

StepChange can be connected by calling 0800 138 1111 from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday or from 9am to 2pm on Saturdays.