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Support for energy price rises – the council tax rebate

The government has announced the following measures to help households with rising energy costs.  For full details please see the government’s factsheet.

The schemes administered by the council are detailed below – you can also read the full eligibility criteria.

Please note, these schemes are not related to the £400 Energy Bill Discount – for details on that, please contact your energy provider. 

You can find links to other support available on our Cost of living crisis – information and support page.

1. New – discretionary rebate support scheme

  • Households in council tax bands E to H in receipt of council tax support will receive a single one-off payment of up to £172.
  • Households in council tax bands to D in receipt of council tax support, who should have already received the mandatory £150 Council Tax Energy Rebate (see item 2. below), will receive a single ‘top up’ payment of up to £22.

To be eligible for this payment households must have been resident in the property on 1 April 2022. 

Here’s how we will make these payments:

If you pay your council tax by direct debit (all council tax bands) –

If our verification checks confirm that you are the person responsible for paying Council Tax at the property then you should be able to receive the money directly into your bank account. 

We expect to start making these payments to all qualifying direct debit households by 15 August. We will write to let you know as soon as we’ve paid the money into your account.

If you are in council tax bands A-D but you are not on direct debit –

If you have already received your mandatory £150 Council Tax Rebate into your bank, we will we pay your £22 top-up using the same bank account details you provided when we paid the rebate to you.  We expect to start making these payments by 15 August 2022.

If you did not receive a rebate payment into your bank account but had it deducted from your council tax account instead then we will also take the top-up off your council tax bill at a later date (no later than 28 September 2022).  We will then issue you with a revised council tax bill. 

If this places your council tax account into credit you will receive a refund request form with the revised bill which you will need to complete to claim a refund.

If you are in council tax bands E-H but you do not pay your council tax by direct debit, or if you are on direct debit but fail the validation checks – 

It will take longer to pay the pay the £172 discretionary energy rebate to you as we will need to write to ask you to confirm your bank details. 

If we need to send you this request, we will do so in the coming weeks, as soon as we have processed the payments to those on direct debit.  Once you have confirmed your details at this stage, we will then be required to carry out verification checks before paying the money and this will take some time to complete. 

Any household who hasn’t provided their details, or whose details we are not able to verify at this stage, will instead have the £172 taken off their council tax bill. If this places your council tax account into credit you will receive a refund request form with the revised bill which you will need to complete to claim a refund.

It is not possible for us to refund any credit without a completed refund request form, even if you completed an energy rebate application form.  This is because your application failed the validation checks and we are required to keep a full audit trail to ensure the money is paid to the correct household to prevent fraudulent claims.

Everyone who is eligible to receive this support will receive the money by 28 September.

To help ensure we can carry out this work as quickly as possible, please do not contact us to chase the ‘rebate’ payment.

2. The mandatory £150 Council Tax Energy Rebate

The £150 ‘rebate’ is available to most households in England whose primary residence is valued in council tax bands A to D. We have now paid this money to all eligible households.

All households that passed our verification checks will have received the £150 payment directly into bank account – this may be listed as ‘Bank Giro Credit’.

Any household that didn’t pass our checks will instead have had £150 deducted from their council tax bill and you should have received a letter confirming this, along with a revised bill. If this placed your council tax account in credit, please complete the refund request form sent with the revised bill to claim your credit. 

Please note, due to the numbers involved, the refund request will be dealt with as quickly as possible but there may be an unavoidable delay.

It is not possible for us to refund any credit without a completed refund request form, even if you completed an energy rebate application form.  This is because your application failed the validation checks and we are required to keep a full audit trail to ensure the money is paid to the correct household to prevent fraudulent claims.

If you are not sure whether your house is in council tax bands A-D, you can find this information on your latest council tax bill or on the Valuation Office website.

Please see the government’s full eligibility criteria for the scheme. Please note, second homes and empty properties are not eligible for this payment.

Scam warning

Please be aware that we would never cold call you to ask for your personal bank details over the phone. If you receive such a call, hang up and report it.

If you think you have provided personal details to someone, you are advised to call the Police immediately on 101 and report the matter as an identity theft. The Police are also directing people to the Action Fraud helpline on 0300 123 2040.

Further information

If you are struggling to pay your council tax bill please visit whitehorsedc.gov.uk/counciltax to find out about the support available or call 0345 302 2315.

For advice if you are struggling to pay other bills please visit Citizens Advice website – citizensadvice.org.uk or Vale Community Impact – vci.org.uk/

Notice from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA)

Following the Chancellor’s announcement on 3 February 2022 regarding support for energy bills, the VOA have received an increased number of requests on how to check and review a dwelling’s banding.

If any resident wants to request a review of their council tax band, they will need to explain why they believe their band is incorrect and provide supporting evidence. The VOA has issued guidance for further information.

The VOA also recently published an article for residents setting out the circumstances in which the VOA will undertake a band review and the evidence customers need to provide.