Many people have still not been paid the £150 council tax discount to help with their fuel bills – and some may not get it until September. On 3 February, the Chancellor told Parliament, “We are going to give people a £150 council tax rebate to help with the cost of energy in April, and this discount will not need to be repaid”, and the Treasury confirmed the money would be paid in April. But later the Treasury and the
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which is responsible for implementing the promise, changed the guidance to read “from April”, perhaps as it became clear that many councils could not cope with the deadline.
The money is due in England to householders whose home is in council tax band A, B, C or D. Those who pay by direct debit will be first in the queue. In some areas it arrived in bank accounts in April; others will get it next month. But people who do not pay by direct debit will have to wait longer, including many pensioners whose council tax is zero due to their low income: the council will contact them to get their
bank details and may pay some by cheque. The deadline is 30 September, and many councils are asking people not to contact them to chase the money.
In Scotland and Wales the payment is due to those living in council tax bands A to D and those in bands E to H who get council tax reduction due to their low income. In Scotland, many councils have reduced the council tax bill by £150. In Northern Ireland there is no council tax and no decision has yet been taken about how the payment will be made.
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The £150 payment is not taxable, but is less than one month’s typical monthly energy payment of around £170. A further £200 off one electricity bill is promised from October, but that will be taken back by raising the standing charge for the next five years.
Paul Lewis presents Money Box on Radio 4. QUESTIONS? Send any questions to Paul.Lewis@radiotimes.com. Paul cannot answer you personally, but I will reflect them in his column.