Energy rebate still not sent to thousands of English and Welsh homes | cost of living crisis

Thousands of families are still waiting for the £150 energy rebate more than two months after the scheme was launched to help raise the cost of living.

The payment, which is part of a package of measures announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in February, is intended for those who live in real estate in municipal tax brackets A to D and is intended to help cover rising utility bills. energy.

However, although the government has said that the subsidies “must be paid as soon as possible from April onwards”, many families still have not received the money.

Morgan Wild, head of policy at Citizens Advice, said: “The council tax rebate is designed to help people with rising energy prices in April. He needs to be paid as soon as possible.

“The government did the right thing by expanding support to low-income families. But our advisors are telling us that the people they are helping don’t know or haven’t been able to access some of this previously promised support.”

In Scotland, councils typically credit the discount to eligible residents’ accounts so that they pay a smaller bill each month, but in England and Wales the system is different.

Families who need the money most, for example people who pay their bill through installments or who are exempt from paying municipal taxes, face the longest waits.

Some councils have yet to reveal how or when customers who do not use direct debit will receive the money.

A recent Guardian call to readers still awaiting payments resulted in hundreds of messages from people across England awaiting their payments.

Nottingham resident Patricia Greenwell, 69, pays her council tax bill by bank transfer every month. Greenwell is retired but has taken a part-time job as a college exam supervisor as her state pension does not cover the rising cost of living, with rising energy bills a particular concern.

“I try to extend patience to the local authority because Nottingham City Council has been severely affected by government cuts over an extended period of time….

“My heating fees have doubled from £71 a month to £142, I live alone in the smallest house I could buy.

“I try to be patient with the advice but it’s June now and it hasn’t been a particularly hot spring, I’m still using my heating. I just don’t see when it will be paid; I have no expectation that it will arrive in September.”

Another reader, Sladjana Milosevic-Grey, a freelance translator in Bath, pays her council tax bill by standing order after being overcharged when she paid by direct debit in the past.

Milosevic-Grey, who lives with her husband, who claims a state pension, said the money would be “very useful” as they had recently been given a £900 electricity bill for the previous three months.

“There are some other people who are really on the fringes of society, so to speak, and they pay cash and they are the people who need the discount more than other people,” she said.

“Certainly if [the council] can take your money, they can give it back to you.”

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The Nottingham City Council said it recognized “in a historic cost-of-living crisis, that our residents really need this council tax rebate to help with their energy bills”, adding that “it has been difficult for local authorities across the world. country because we are all having to facilitate payments within the constraints of a government system that is far from perfect”.

Adele Williams, deputy head of the local authority, said: “Paying by bank transfer does not provide us with bank details and therefore we had to establish and deploy a new system to securely collect this information as well as carry out due diligence to ensure that only eligible families can apply and minimize fraud.”

Richard Samuel, deputy council leader for Bath and North East Somerset, said: “Making payments to people who do not pay by direct debit presents a greater challenge, but we are working hard to get the money paid out as quickly as possible.

“We will be contacting payers without direct debit in the coming weeks asking them to request payment.”

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