Government have issued guidance to local authorities in respect of the above £150 council tax energy rebate.
In summary there are two schemes: a mandatory scheme and a discretionary scheme.
Those occupying MOD properties are excluded from both.
The council has been allocated £294,150 to create a Discretionary Scheme for those who do not qualify for the Mandatory Scheme or to make top-up payments.
On Thursday 25 August 2022 Cabinet approved the criteria for the Discretionary Scheme to target this help at those we already know are on a low income by using the Council Tax Reduction records we already hold. This is because Council Tax Reduction is a means tested form of reduction unlike other reductions such as a single person discount or disabled band reduction which do not take account of how much money a resident has to live on.
The Discretionary Scheme is open to any resident in Bands A-H, who received Council Tax Reduction (known locally as Council Tax Support on your Council Tax Bill) on Friday 1 April 2022.
Further details are outlined below.
The liable Council Tax payer must have been in receipt of Council Tax Reduction (shown as Council Tax Support on your bill) on Friday 1 April 2022.
- Those who have already received the £150 Mandatory payments, because they are in Band A-D, will received a top up of £50 and those in Band E-H will receive a one-off payment of £200.
- Payments will automatically be made to those in Bands A-D in the same way as the Mandatory £150 payment was made i.e. either via BACs or as a credit onto their Council Tax account.
- Payment to those in Bands E-H will automatically be made by BACS if they paid their April instalment by Direct Debit. If not, please make an application via the on-line Grant Approval form.
In order to proceed with your application you will need your council tax account number and property reference number from your Council Tax Bill. Please do not use the reference numbers from the Valuation Office Agency website as you will receive an error message and will not be able to proceed.
You will also need details of your bank account.
Funding must be distributed by Wednesday 30 November 2022. The application process will close on Monday 31 October 2022 and anyone who has not made an application by that date will receive a credit on their Council Tax account.
When you will hear from us
We aim to process your application within ten working days. If your application is approved, your grant payment will show as cleared funds in your account within a further three working days.
Payments will only be made directly to the liable parties’ bank account.
If you need help making an application on-line, you can drop into your local library at anytime, but we have also set up specific help sessions, as outlined below, when we will have more staff available to assist you and you may therefore have to wait less time.
Please ensure you bring your latest Council Tax bill with you and a current bank statement, not just details of your bank account, as we may need to verify your address as well as your account and sort code.
This scheme is now closed to applications from those who do not pay by direct debit. Anyone identified by the council as eligible who did not make an application by Wednesday 31 August 2022 will now receive the £150 as a credit on their council tax account. If anyone wishes to have this refunded to them, you will need to complete a refund form.
The eligibility criteria for the mandatory scheme is:
- Are liable for council tax in a band A-D property at the close of Friday 1 April 2022.
- It includes Band E properties which attract a Disabled Band Reduction and are therefore charged at a Band D rate.
- It is someone's sole or main residence
- It includes some exempt properties such as those wholly occupied by students or those with a Severe Mental Impairment or certain annexes.
- It includes properties where the charge has been reduced to £0 as a result of an award of Council Tax Support.
However, it does not apply to second homes, empty properties, or those properties where the liable party is not an individual e.g. where it is the local authority, a housing association, government department or company.
By accepting a payment from this scheme, the Royal Borough assumes that residents fit the criteria outlined above. If this is not the case, residents may be liable to repay the grant, and therefore, should inform the council tax section immediately by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Where more than one person is liable for Council Tax at an address, only one payment may be made, but it is intended to support all residents of the household.
The council has been allocated £4,597,950 for this scheme. The £150 is a one-off award and does not have to be repaid.
Direct Debit payers
We have made payments to residents who paid their April 2022 Council Tax instalment by Direct Debit, please check the bank account which you make the Council Tax payment from.
Please note: that we will never call you to collect your bank account details and, due to the risk of fraud, we will not be able to verbally provide you with your account number or property reference number, but you can request a copy Council Tax bill by contacting customer services on 01628 683800.
What if I am overdrawn - can the bank take the payment?
If you are overdrawn, you can protect your payment by telling your bank that you do not want them to use this to help with your overdraft. This protection is called a "first right of appropriation funds order". A sample letter that residents may wish to use to exercise this right is available from the National Debtline.