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Council Tax Energy Rebate - An Update

April 6, 2022 3:40 PM
By Tim Prater in F&HDC Cabinet Member for Revenues and Benefits
Originally published by Tim Prater | Councillor for Sandgate & West Folkestone, Sandgate Village, Harvey West & Hythe East

Smart Electricity Meter DisplayI've written before about the £150 Energy Rebate, and how payments will be made to people in Folkestone and Hythe.

Paying tens of thousands of people by DD is not a thing the Council team has done before (business Covid grants for example were on a much smaller scale, as there are far less businesses than residents), so they are needing to build processes and test systems. They absolutely don't want to get this wrong!

The INTENTION is that anyone paying for their Council Tax by DD should have the full £150 payment in their bank account by the end of April or as close to that as possible. However, they are literally testing the system over the next two days with a small run. If that works smoothly will then start making the bigger runs (the 1 April DD run is, of course, the biggest). We can also then make the expected payment date table below a bit more... useful.

If you do not pay your Council Tax by DD, there is more information below, and on the linked policy.

Below is the content of the what will be going live at https://folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/energyrebate as soon as possible, but I know people are keen to have information as soon as possible, so I'm passing it on before publication (which will get me shouted at by someone: sue me).

Energy Rebate: update to https://folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/energyrebate

If you live in a property in council tax bands A to D, you are likely to receive a £150 Energy Bill rebate from the Government to help with the cost of living.

This is working from the latest information provided by Central Government. The page at https://folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/energyrebate be updated as we receive more information.

What is the payment?

This payment is being provided to support all residents in a household with increasing fuel bills.

The payment is being provided on the assumption that a resident is a liable Council Tax payer (or would have been if the property were not exempt) and that the property met the criteria as set out in Government guidance. If this is not the case, the payment may be liable for recovery.

Who's eligible?

Households in Council Tax bands A-D will receive the £150 Energy Bill rebate. This means 4 out of 5 households in England will benefit, including around 95% of rented properties. However, second homes or empty properties will not benefit. If you are unsure of your Council Tax band, check your Council Tax band via your printed council tax bill or at: https://www.gov.uk/council-tax-bands or contact your local council.

When will I get my payment?

The Council aims to pay residents that pay their Council Tax by Direct Debit by the dates listed below, depending on the date you have set up your Direct Debit.

Payment guidance

Direct Debit collected

Payment issued date

26 March 2022

08 April 2022

01 April 2022

To be confirmed

08 April 2022

To be confirmed

16 April 2022

To be confirmed

26 April 2022

To be confirmed

26 April 2022 (for residents that did not pay by DD on 26 March 2022)

To be confirmed

01 May 2022 (for residents that did not pay by DD on 01 April 2022)

To be confirmed

08 May 2022 (for residents that did not pay by DD on 08 April 2022)

To be confirmed

Please note it may take several days for a payment to appear in your account.

If the name on the bank account does not match the person named for Council Tax we will contact you to confirm further details.

What if I do not pay my Council Tax by Direct Debit?

If you do not pay by Direct Debit we will contact you from May onwards about how to claim your payment.

Further information will appear on https://folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/energyrebate when available.

Can my bank take my Energy Rebate Payment to pay my overdraft?

No, banks are not allowed to use your Energy Rebate Payment to repay an overdraft. You can protect your Energy Rebate Payment by writing to your bank. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order'. You will need to tell your bank how to use these payments.

You will need to write to your bank at least seven days before the Energy Rebate Payment is due, making it clear what this money can be used for, for example your electricity bill and gas rates. Keep a copy of the letter in case there is any dispute later.

You may want to ask your bank/building society for a written acknowledgement of your instructions. If there are any items you no longer want to pay from your account, or which you cannot afford, you should give your bank separate cancellation instructions.

The first right of appropriation does not stop the bank paying items as well as those you have listed. If you do not cancel these items, your bank may return the items as unpaid, which they may charge you for. However, payments from your account to repay a loan with the same bank cannot be cancelled.

For example, you may want to instruct your bank or building society:

"On or around April 28th, my Energy Rebate Payment will be paid into my current account number 0101010101. I am exercising my first right of appropriation over these funds and wish you to pay the following items from it: £50 standing order payable to British Gas on 25th of the month."

What if my household isn't eligible?

The Council has received additional funding to support vulnerable households who may not qualify for the £150 Energy Bill rebate. Further information about a discretionary scheme will be published at https://folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/energyrebate when available.

The Full Policy

Folkestone and Hythe Energy Tax Mandatory Scheme 2022-23.