Millions could get £150 council tax rebate for rising bills but ‘don’t know about it’

Martin Lewis explains how the council tax rebate works

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Across England, Scotland and Wales, people living in homes classed as bands A to D in council tax will get a £150 rebate. For those who pay council tax by direct debit, getting the money should be straightforward as they can expect a payment in their account at some point this month but for others, it may be more difficult.

On BBC Money Box, reporter Dan Whitworth discussed which people may find it difficult, and how those outside of bands A to D can still claim some money to help them with the rise in bills.

The Government have said the this £3billion scheme will benefit around 70 percent of households however it is estimated that only around two thirds of households pay their council tax by direct debit so receiving the rebate may prove harder.

Some eligible people may have to apply for this rebate through their local council if they do not pay by direct debit.

Those people who do not qualify for this rebate may still be able to claim.

Mr Whitworth explained that each council has extra money for discretionary payment but every council can decide who gets this based off of individual circumstance.

He said: “There is extra money for discretionary payments but every council can decide who it gives that money to.

“I spoke to a single dad of three teenagers who works two jobs to get by.

“He lives in a band E house so does not automatically qualify but he told me there was no way he can afford the bill increase so he is really hoping he gets some of the discretionary fund.”

Mr Whitworth also mentioned students as people who may be eligible for the discretionary fund.

He spoke to Roweena and Alex about their thoughts on the scheme.

They thought the scheme was a good idea but “poorly executed” and “not thought through”.

Both of them were unaware of the support that could have been available to them which could make “a big impact” on their bills.

“I didn’t know anything about it,” they said.

He explained that students are exempt from paying council tax so they will have to apply for the fund.

Students in halls of residence will not be eligible to apply, however those in private rented properties might be but it depends on where they are, he said.

The Institute for Public Policy (IPPR) research estimates that over two million of the country’s poorest people won’t automatically qualify for this rebate and will have to apply for this discretionary fund.

In England the fund is £144million but this “won’t go far” spread between millions of people, he said.

Abby Jitendra, principal policy manager for energy at Citizens Advice said the scheme is “too complicated, and un targeted”.

She continued: “There are several millions of people who are missing out and the IPPR also said that 44 percent of the people eligible are earning above the average salary so some people getting don’t need it.”

Britons who are eligible and do not pay the bills with direct debit are urged to “sit tight” as many councils need to figure out how they will distribute the funds and should be in touch eventually.

Those who are exempt from paying council tax such as pensioners on low incomes can still get the support as long as the council have their direct debit details.

BBC Money Box is available on BBC Sounds.

Source: Read Full Article