Millions of homeowners in the UK are still waiting for their £150 council tax rebate, which was supposed to arrive this month. The support payment for eligible households in council tax bands A to D was announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak in February.
It’s being given out to help with the cost of living crisis, but some families may have to wait until September to get their money.
According to a letter obtained by MoneySavingExpert.com, 39,000 customers in South Derbyshire were advised that they would not receive their money until at least June owing to technological issues.
The district council is working with payment firm Capita on the problem, according to a spokeswoman. ‘The earliest that they [Capita] can provide the software that will allow us to distribute the £150 rebate is late April,’ the spokesperson said. ‘This software will require thorough testing before it can be used. If all goes well with the testing, residents can expect to receive their £150 rebate in late May or early June.’
Each English council is in charge of deciding how to conduct its claims processes, including which software provider to hire.
As a result, payment schedules will differ across the country. Because their bank details are on the council’s system, those who are most likely to get their funds first will already have a direct debit set up.
Those who do not pay by direct debit may have to wait longer for their money since authorities will have to contact them individually to arrange a different payment method.
Councils have been ordered not to distribute the funds until residents have paid their council tax this month so that their bank accounts can be verified.
In Scotland, certain councils may choose to deduct £150 from council tax payments rather than distribute the reward.
The city council in Manchester was expected to make payments on April 18, according to the money-saving website.
Payments may not arrive until September, according to Bassetlaw District Council in Nottinghamshire.
Portsmouth City Council’s director of finance and resources, Chris Ward, said earlier this month that the council was working hard to get the system up and running, but added: ‘The software for the rebates isn’t provided by the government, so each council has to decide how to administer the scheme and what software to use.’
‘A software upgrade has been developed by our provider and we’re testing it.’
The rebate is part of a £9.1 billion aid package unveiled by the government in February.
The government has advised councils that payments must be made by September 30 — although many families had hoped for it sooner.
According to The Mirror, at least 15 local governments have yet to handle the cash payments.
If in doubt, eligible families should visit their council website, according to Martyn James of consumer rights website Resolver – and don’t panic if the site hasn’t been updated yet. ‘You can contact your council for help and support with financial difficulties if you are worried about paying the tax,’ he told The Express.
People are being warned about a cold-calling scam in which they are solicited for their bank account information over the phone. Many of the frauds appear authentic at first glance, according to Councillor Mohan Iyengar, vice-chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board.
‘Criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to take advantage of the financial worries people are facing,’ he said. ‘Anyone can fall victim to a scam, and we urge people of all ages to brush up on the tell-tale signs, and the support available to those who need it.’
Energy rebate scams may be reported by forwarding the message to 7726 and flagging it with Action Fraud.
The Chancellor said the money will automatically be paid back from the customer’s bills in equal to £40 instalments over the next five years from next April.
On top of the council tax rebate, there will also be £150 million for local authorities in England.
The money will be to help lower-income households who live in higher council tax band properties and families who are exempt from council tax.
The program equates to almost 20 million households.
At the start of April, the energy price cap rose by 54 per cent, with the average bill now nearly £2,000.