Published: 25 April 2022
There has been considerable publicity of the government’s announcement that a £150 energy rebate payment will be made to all eligible households within council tax bands A-D. These payments will be administered by Swale Borough Council. They will be made to the council taxpayer, who is not necessarily the person who pays the household energy bill. As is often the case, the government announced the scheme before the practical arrangements for local authorities to administer it have been put in place.
Swale Borough Council have been allocated funds to distribute these payments. In addition, borough councils have also been allocated a discretionary grant to assist households that are not in those tax bands, but who need additional support for their energy bills. The discretionary funds can also be used to increase support for vulnerable households in the A – D council tax bands.
Kent councils have been working together to deliver broadly similar schemes for the discretionary payment. In Swale the discretionary payments will be made to residents occupying properties who fall into the following groups.
· Band E – H £150 award to all Council Tax Support claimants in these bands.
· Band F – H £150 award to all properties with a disabled banding.
· Band A – D £30 additional award to all Council Tax Support claimants.
The government has indicated that payments will be made in April, however the scale of the operation to enable councils to deliver the payments means that payments are likely to be made in May and June. Councils have until September to pay mandatory grants and November to pay the discretionary grants.
It is expected that Swale will start payment of the first phase of mandatory grants by the end of April for those taxpayers who pay their council tax by direct debit. The software package to facilitate the grant payments has not yet been received from government and the council will need to set up the data and test the software before being able to make the first payments. The second phase of the grant payments will be for those households for which the council does not hold bank details and so will require an application and verification process to ensure we are paying those entitled to that payment. Householders will receive an email or letter advising them of how to claim. The customer services team at the council (01795 417850) are on hand to provide assistance when the process goes live.