Council tax rebate error sees thousands have £150 taken out of their account
Rishi Sunak promised Brits a £150 tax rebate to help with the cost-of-living crisis
Households eligible for a £150 energy rebate payment were told they may get their money more quickly by setting up a direct debit to pay their council tax, the Local Government Association (LGA) has said.
Getting the money to council taxpayers without direct debit arrangements could take longer as local authorities will need to attempt to contact them about the rebate scheme and carry out checks, the LGA added.
The Government previously announced a package of support known as the Energy Bills Rebate to help households with rising energy costs, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.
But around 25,000 residents in Leeds have received two payments in error, with the council warning they will be reclaiming the money.
A Leeds council spokesman said: "We are aware that a significant number of council tax rebate payments have been duplicated, meaning some residents have received the payment twice.
“This is due to a process error where the same payment file was incorrectly processed twice after it was initially rejected by the bank.
"We are working with our bank to recover the duplicate payments so that the situation can be rectified as soon as possible."
This includes a £150 council tax rebate for households in England in council tax bands A to D and £144 million of discretionary funding for billing authorities to support households who are in need but are not eligible for the council tax rebate. The devolved administrations will also receive around £565 million in funding to provide support, the Government previously said.
The LGA said Hull City Council for example has 60,000 households in the city which do not currently pay their council tax by direct debit.
Cllr Shaun Davies, chair of the LGA’s Resources Board, said: “This year will be tougher than most, particularly for those on lower incomes, so it is good that the Government is stepping in to provide financial support to help ease these pressures.
“Having a direct debit set up will mean councils can automatically pay the £150 energy rebate straight into your bank account. It is quick and easy to set up to pay council tax by direct debit via your council’s website.
“You can still get the money if you don’t have a direct debit set up, but it could take longer as your council will have to contact you and then you’ll have to make a claim.
“Councils will also now be looking to set up their local schemes to offer discretionary help to households who are not eligible under the terms of the rebate scheme, but who are struggling to meet the costs of rising energy bills.”