THE number of people struggling with their council tax payments has "rocketed" to become the most common type of debt problem Citizens' Advice now deals with.

Some 27,000 people across the UK with council tax arrears problems got help from the charity in the first three months of 2014, marking a 17 per cent upswing on the same period last year.

Overall, one in five who are reporting debt problems to Citizens' Advice has a council tax arrears issue and the charity said this problem has now overtaken credit card and personal loan debt to become the number-one type of debt that it is consulted about.

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Council tax arrears are a serious problem for in-work households, the charity said. Between January and March 2014, 42 per cent of those approaching Citizens' Advice for help with council tax arrears were in employment.

Citizens' Advice said the number of people struggling with council tax payments has "rocketed" since council tax benefit was replaced by council tax support schemes, which are run on a local basis, in April 2013.

Council tax support is a discount that helps people on low income to pay their council tax and the amount of support you get depends on your circumstances.

Citizens' Advice said the support is available to people in and out of work, but levels now vary from one council to the next.

Of those people asking for advice from the charity for help with council tax issues, one in six (16 per cent) also had a credit or store card problem, and one in five (21 per cent) had a personal loan problem.