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 – 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. 

£150 Energy Rebate payment update - 13 May 2022

We are pleased to confirm that from week beginning 16 May 2022 we will start to pay the £150 Council Tax rebates to local residents who pay by direct debit, through the Government’s Energy Bill Rebate scheme. Like all councils, Harborough District Council is working hard to ensure that payments are received well within the Government’s deadlines.

The stipulation that councils need to make a payment rather than simply crediting Council Tax accounts has resulted in both significant additional work and the need to make changes to our IT systems. However, 21,000 payments to Council Tax payers are now underway and we expect to have made the majority of payments to those in Bands A to D (and certain residents in Band E) who pay by direct debit by the end of May 2022.

There will be instances where we have not been able to make a direct payment because, for example, the name on the direct debit does not match exactly with the liable person for Council Tax. If this is the case, you will be sent a letter to collect your payment from the Post Office.

If you have not received your payment direct into your account by the first week in June, or you do not pay by direct debit, it is safe to assume that your payment will be made through the Post Office. These letters will start to be sent within the next three weeks but please be assured that nobody who qualifies for the rebate will be missed or forgotten so we would ask that you bear with us and continue to visit our website for further updates rather than telephoning. We will also continue to share updates on social media and will update the FAQs on our website regularly.

The 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.

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. 

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

 

Council Tax rebate scams

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 and NCSC's Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS)

 

Further information

Payments will be made in one of two ways:

Automatically

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 in 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. 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.
 

Please do not telephone or email us as all information is provided on our website. 

 

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 – 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 with 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) or 
    • 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 

The effective date for the Council Tax Rebate is 1 April 2022. Changes made to the council tax band of your home after this date 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. 

Please note that there are a limited number of reasons that you can challenge your council tax band. The government issued guidance on the circumstances a council tax band can be challenged. The Valuation Office Agency determines the council tax band for each property, not the Council. 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 2022. It is anticipated the discretionary scheme will be launched during June 2022. 

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