Millions of people should look to set up a direct debit to pay their council tax bill from April so they can receive their £150 energy rebate payment as quickly as possible, the Local Government Association says today.
The Energy Rebate scheme was announced by the Chancellor earlier this month to help people cope with rising energy bills. It will see eligible households in England in Council Tax Bands A-D properties, receive a £150 energy rebate payment from their council from April this year.
This includes those who already receive help with paying some or all of their council bill through local council tax support.
Councils are urging people to set up direct debits so they can get the payment to them as quickly as possible. Getting the money to council taxpayers without direct debit arrangements will take longer as councils will need to attempt to contact them about the rebate scheme and will also have to undertake pre-payment checks.
Councils will also receive £144 million in discretionary funding to enable them to offer help to households who are not eligible under the terms of the core scheme, but who are struggling to meet the costs of rising energy bills.
Many households are likely to be economically vulnerable for some time to come. Going forward, the LGA said councils want to work with government on an effective long-term solution to preventing poverty and disadvantage that moves away from providing crisis support towards improving life chances and building resilience.
Cllr Shaun Davies, Chair of the LGA’s Resources Board, said:
“This year will be tougher than most, particularly for those on lower incomes, so it is good that the Government is stepping in to provide financial support to help ease these pressures.
“Having a direct debit set up will mean councils can automatically pay the £150 energy rebate straight into your bank account. It is quick and easy to set up to pay council tax by direct debit via your council’s website.
“You can still get the money if you don't have a direct debit set up, but it could take longer as your council will have to contact you and then you'll have to make a claim.
“Councils will also now be looking to set up their local schemes to offer discretionary help to households who are not eligible under the terms of the rebate scheme, but who are struggling to meet the costs of rising energy bills.”