The majority of the 43,000 eligible residents in B&NES who pay their council tax by direct debit have now received the Government’s £150 energy rebate, with the remainder set to be paid over the next two weeks, says the local authority.
Bath & North East Somerset Council is urging anyone not already on direct debit payments to sign up so that they can receive the money as soon as possible.
Anyone who does not have a direct debit will be contacted by the council by the end of June to invite them to make a claim.
There have been a number of cases where it has not been possible to make payments to existing direct debit payers, for example when bill and bank account names do not match or the bank has rejected the payment. The council is working to resolve this and will contact affected residents directly if needed.
The government announced earlier this year that residents living in properties in Council Tax bands A to D will receive a £150 energy rebate as a one-off payment to help with rises in fuel bills. The money does not have to be repaid.
Families who do not qualify for the £150 energy rebate, for example those living in bands E and above, may qualify for a discretionary payment if they are on a low income or receive certain benefits. All awards will be for £150.
Residents will be eligible for the discretionary fund if they meet the following criteria:
- They are not entitled to the main energy rebate scheme as they are not liable for council tax or their home is in council tax band E or above
- They are directly liable for energy costs i.e. their name is on the electricity or gas bill
- They receive an income-based benefit including Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit OR have combined household earnings and pensions below £500 per week.
Further details, including the form to apply for the payments will be available on the council’s energy rebate web page when the scheme is open for applications.
Councillor Richard Samuel, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Economic Development and Resources, said: “Since the government announced the energy rebate we have worked to get the payments to residents in need as soon as possible. It’s been a huge task because adjustments were needed to the software and systems we use, but I’m pleased we have been able to get the money to the majority of households and this will total just under £9.6m when all the payments have been made.
“It’s really important that anyone who isn’t on direct debit signs up now so that we can speed up getting your payment to you. If you aren’t able to arrange a direct debit, we will contact you in the coming weeks with details of how you can apply for the rebate.”
Further updates will be added to the energy rebate webpage.
The website includes a link to check households’ Council Tax bands for anyone unsure which band their property is in.
The council is also highlighting support that some families might not be aware of and is encouraging people who are struggling to pay their bills to seek help and advice before financial problems become a real crisis.
More information is available online about free school meals vouchers, the Welfare Support Scheme , Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support , Discretionary Housing Payment, Welcome Cafes and Food Clubs, the BANES Food Finder, the Community Wellbeing Hub, Citizens Advice Bath and North East Somerset.
Residents can also email email@example.com or call 01225 477277. Monday to Thursday 9am to 4.30pm and Friday 9am to 4pm.