Energy rebate scheme - Council tax rebate to help with increased home energy costs

The government has provided a support package to help households with the increase in energy costs.

These measures include a one-off £150 non-repayable rebate for households in England in council tax bands A to D, known as the council tax rebate.

This will be in the form of a payment of £150 per eligible household and is not a reduction off your council tax bill. There is one payment per household regardless of the number of occupants or council taxpayers named on the bill.

The £150 energy rebate payments will begin to arrive in bank accounts of direct debit customers from Monday 16 May. Payments will be made in daily batches to a total of 27,333 customers starting with customers who paid by direct debit on 1 April before moving onto those who paid on 14 April then those who paid on the 28 April.  We expect to have made payments to the majority of direct debit customers by the end of May.                

There are a small number of direct debit customers for whom payments will take longer to process. For instance, if the name of the bank account is different from the name of the council tax account holder we will send a letter to collect your rebate from the Post Office. This is a manual process so please bear with us, our teams are working as quickly as they can.  If we cannot match your direct debit and council tax account details, you will receive a letter from us within the next three weeks with instructions on how to claim your payment at the post office.

If you don’t pay your council tax by direct debit you’ll receive a letter within the next three weeks with instructions on how to claim your payment at the post office. You don’t need to apply for this, if you are eligible, you will receive your payment.

For those households who need help with their energy bills but are not eligible for the main energy rebate payment, the details of the discretionary scheme will be published shortly. We are still awaiting software to allow these payments to be processed.

Everyone who qualifies for the rebate will be paid. Government expects local authorities to have made payments under this scheme by September 2022. Of course, we appreciate that people are facing a cost of living crisis now and we are doing all we can to make these payments as soon as possible.

Our customer services or council tax teams are unable to provide further information if you phone us, all updates will be shared on our website and social media. Thank you for your patience.

Advice and support for anyone struggling financially is available from Citizens Advice and Money Saving Expert.

How we're making payments.

Automatic payments

If you currently occupy a property that meets the eligibility criteria for this scheme and you pay your council tax by direct debit, and the name(s) of the bank account you pay your council tax from matches the name(s) on the council tax bill, no action is required from you. A payment of £150 will be made direct to the bank account that is held on your council tax account (only applicable for those that have an instalment collected in April 2022). Payment is intended to be made by the end of May after the first direct debit payment for the month is received, to ensure the council meets the government’s expectation of a successful collection within April 2022. 

In the case of multiple residents who are jointly liable, the payment will be made to the live bank account held for the household, providing the name(s) of the bank account held matches one of those persons named on the council tax bill.

If the direct debit details do not match the council tax bill payer, for example the council tax bill is paid from a third-party bank account, we will use the Post Office voucher scheme to make your payment (see below).

Cash payment through the Post Office

For those that do not pay their council tax by direct debit, we will be using the Post Office pay-out voucher scheme to make the payment. The person named on the council tax account will receive a letter with a barcode that enables them to pick up the cash payment from any Post Office branch, with appropriate identification. Letters will be posted in May 2022.There is no need to apply for this or to hand over any bank account information, it will be sent automatically to all eligible households.

Important - if someone contacts you saying they’re from the council and asks you to provide your bank details, put the phone down immediately, it’s a scam. The council will never contact you to ask for your bank details by phone, email, or text. For advice on identifying scams and reporting suspicious emails, phone calls and text messages please visit Action Fraud (police.uk) and NCSC's suspicious email reporting service (SERS) (ncsc.gov.uk)

Please do not telephone or email us as all information is provided here.

Eligibility

The council tax rebate will be paid to the liable council taxpayer (or an occupant where the property is exempt) where the property occupied meets the following conditions on 1 April 2022.

  1. The property is valued in council tax bands A to D. This includes property that is valued in band E but has an alternative valuation band of band D, as a result of the disabled band reduction scheme. A property’s council tax band is shown on your bill or GOV.UK helps you find out which band your home is in. Just put your postcode into their online tool to find the band for your home. Find your council tax band (GOV.UK).
  2. The property is occupied as someone’s only or main home.
  3. It is a chargeable dwelling, or in exemption classes:
  • N (occupied only by full-time students), where the students are liable for payment of council tax
  • S (occupied only by persons under the age of 18)
  • U (occupied only by persons with a severe mental impairment)
  • W (an annex to a property occupied by the dependant relative of the person living in the main property)

Where the liable council taxpayer does not occupy the property, they will not be eligible. This means that if you are a tenant of a property where the landlord is liable for the council tax bill such as when the premises is a house in multi occupation for council tax purposes (this includes student accommodation in exemption class N), a council tax rebate cannot be paid. However, you may be eligible for a discretionary payment if you pay energy bills directly and your circumstances meet the criteria for the discretionary scheme.

Where a property is in exemption classes S, U or W, the occupant will be eligible for support as will exemption class N where the student/s are liable for payment of council tax and not the landlord.

A property that meets all the criteria but has a nil council tax liability as a result of local council tax support, will be eligible.

Properties that have no permanent resident such as unoccupied properties or second homes will not be eligible.

Changes in circumstances

Changes made to the council tax band of your home after 1 April 2022 will not be taken into consideration.

The exception to this is newly built homes awaiting a valuation band. In these circumstances if the effective date is 1 April or before, a payment can be made provided all the eligibility criteria is met.

The Valuation Office Agency determines the council tax band for each property If you have a question about the band value of a property, please contact 03000 501501.

Payment

Payments must be made directly to the council tax bill payer of eligible households. We are required to carry out pre-payment assurance checks to verify that the bank details held match the liable taxpayer named on the council tax records before issuing the payment.

Energy rebate discretionary fund

The government will provide funding for councils to operate a discretionary fund for households in need who would not otherwise be eligible for a council tax rebate. 

Payments for this scheme must be made by the end of November. The schemes have to be formally approved and we have to wait for software to allow us to make payments. It is anticipated the discretionary scheme will be launched during June 2022.

Further updates will appear as soon as we have clearer timescales.

Last updated: Tue 17 May, 2022 @ 11:49