ABOUT 5,000 people living in Huntingdonshire will start to receive Council Tax bills for the first time this week after the Government scrapped Council Tax Benefit.

The benefit will be abolished at the start of April and is being replaced with a Council Tax Support scheme which has been created by Huntingdonshire District Council.

HDC said its replacement scheme will provide people of pensionable age with the same amount of Council Tax Support as they would have done under the previous scheme while provision has also been made to give some protection to the district's most vulnerable residents.

The majority of people being asked to pay for the first time will need to find between £2 and £3.99 per week.

HDC said it has devised a number of ways for people to pay, including by Direct Debit, via a 24-hour payment telephone line (01480 388165), or via the internet.

The council is advising people who are getting Council Tax bills for the first time - and those who may struggle to pay these bills - to contact their local advice agency, such as Citizens Advice, for help.

Councillor Barry Chapman, executive councillor for customer services, said: "Local authorities will lose some of the grant that was received for Council Tax Benefit funding, and for Huntingdonshire that equates to a loss of over a million pounds, so for the first time we will have to ask people who previously received full benefit to pay something towards their Council Tax bill."

INFORMATION: If you are having problems with your bills, call the CAB on 0844 2451292.