Nearly a third of Stockport households face having to apply for £150 council tax rebate

Nearly a third of all households in Stockport may have to apply for a new £150 council tax rebate as they do not pay by direct debit.

The payment, announced last month by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, is part of a government response to rising energy bills.

All properties in bands AD qualify.

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However, it has emerged that those who settle up by cash or cheque, are not only likely to have to wait for their rebate but may also have to apply for it.

Stockport Council says it does not have any bank details for 38,712 homes that do not pay their council tax via direct debit.

It’s believed Treasury officials failed to realize the number of people – particularly those living in deprived areas – who do not have direct debits set up to pay their council tax when putting together the new rebate policy.

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Councilors also voted through an additional £15 ‘cost of living rebate’ for all households in bands AD at last week’s budget-setting meeting.

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The authority is ‘implementing a robust communications strategy’ to target these households, and considering options for those who do not pay via direct debit to receive the government’s energy rebate, following the publication of government guidance.

Bosses say they do not plan to send out any direct mailshots, although leaflets and targeted advertising will be used to reach residents who are likely to be affected.

Deputy councilor leader Tom McGee said: “We recognize how important it is that those who do not pay their council tax by direct debit make the switch in order to make the payment of the government’s £150 energy rebate as easy as possible.

“In Stockport, this is a complex and large-scale issue.

“We are currently implementing a robust communications plan to help those families understand the importance of making the switch, and ensure that doing so is as quick and easy as possible.”

He added: “For those who do not pay by direct debit, provision will be made to ensure they are still able to claim the rebate.

“As a council, we are reviewing the most recent government guidance on this, and our processes for claiming the rebate will be set out on the council website in due course.”

The council tax rebate is part of a £9.1bn government support package.

A one-off payment, it will benefit around 80 per cent of all households in England and does not have to be repaid.

However, that is not the case for another similar government scheme.

The Energy Bills Rebate will provide around 28 million households with an upfront discount on their bills worth £200. Energy suppliers will apply the discount to domestic electricity customers from October, with the Government meeting the costs.

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But that discount will then be automatically recovered from people’s bills in equal £40 facilities over the next five years.

Further details can be found here.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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