Citizens Advice Q&A Issue 2

I have council tax arrears and have an agreement in place with the council to pay this back. I currently owe around £3,500 and I’m really worried that if I can’t afford my repayments the council will make me bankrupt. With the price of everything increasing, I’m struggling to pay back what I initially agreed.

We would suggest that you make an appointment with one of our qualified money advisers. They will talk you through all of your options and may negotiate with the council on your behalf to potentially reduce your repayments. Also, as of 1st October 2022, the minimum debt that someone must owe before a creditor can make them bankrupt will be increasing to £5,000 from £3,000. Therefore, the council (or any other creditors you may have) would be unable to make you bankrupt if your debt is lower than £5,000.


In January 2021 I had a disagreement with my manager and said some things I regret. I later apologised and thought things had been resolved. A few weeks later a colleague told me that the manager has included in an email to some of my colleagues that I am an alcoholic. As I work with children in a nursery, this could affect my future employment. Can I take her to court for defamation?

The law covering defamation changed on 8th August 2022. The time limit for raising action changed from three years to one year from when the statement was first published. You mentioned that you only heard of your manager’s statements a few weeks later. Only in certain circumstances could the one year time limit be extended – for example, if you had been unaware of statements. However, it seems that you decided against acting at the time. We would advise getting in touch with our legal clinic advisers who would gather more information and further advise you. You can make an appointment by contacting the Bureau on 0141 889 2121.


I received an email the other day from Ofgem telling me I needed to complete a form to apply for the £400 energy bill rebate. I thought this was an automatic payment?

You’re right, the £400 energy bill rebate will be paid automatically. Energy scams are on the rise and the email you received will be from scammers pretending to be Ofgem. You don’t need to complete any forms or apply for the payment and you certainly don’t need to provide your bank details. The energy bill rebate will be paid into your energy account over 6 months starting from October. If you have a prepayment meter, the £400 will be added to your meter or you’ll be given vouchers. You should always report attempted scams. Reporting this will increase the chances of the scammers being caught and stopped. You can report scams to Advice Direct Scotland by calling 0808 164 6000.