Sefton Council writing to non-Direct Debit payers to ensure Council Tax Energy Rebate payments can be made as soon as possible
Sefton Council is sending letters to around 40,000 or so of the Borough’s Band A to D households to help ensure they receive their £150 Energy Rebate payments.
These are mostly households that don’t pay their Council Tax by Direct Debit. Payments are already going out to the 75,000 eligible households that pay through Direct Debit.
The letters being sent out are for people to register securely online to receive their payment. Each letter will show a unique code that the household can use to confirm their details. The code can only be used once, and the household will need their Council Tax account reference to hand when they register.
People receiving the letters and wanting more information can find details of the Council Tax Energy Rebate Scheme, including Frequently Asked Questions and an easy-read guide, at www.sefton.gov.uk/energyrebate.
This video explains how it works and what to look out for.
Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory Compliance and Corporate Services said: “Having started the process of the 75,000 or so £150 payments for those people who pay by Direct Debit, we are now determined to get payments out directly to the remaining 40,000 eligible households who pay in other ways.
“I’m pleased to say that in just one day we have received details from over 4,370 households that will enable us to process their payment.
“I would urge anyone who receives one of our letters, containing a unique code for them to register online to do so straight away to help us speed up the process. There is advice and an easy-Read explanation on our website at www.sefton.gov.uk/council-tax.
“We appreciate there are those people who do not have internet access and we are helping them through our Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845 but the more people who use the easy online route, the quicker we can make that service for those who really need it.”
Cllr Lappin went on to say that some scams relating to the Energy Rebate scheme in other areas have been reported and to remind Sefton residents that the Council will never telephone residents or cold call at their doors asking for bank details. She said residents should beware of anyone who contacts them in these ways.
Households that don’t pay Council Tax because they are on a low income or subject to exemptions will also receive the letters inviting them to register for the rebate via an online form. Households will not be able to apply without this letter. The Council will also be writing to households where the Direct Debit is being paid from a bank account not in the name of the person(s) liable for the Council Tax bill.
There are also some cases where people have moved in the last few weeks and the Council is following up on these changes of address to ensure payments are made to the right people.
People receiving these letters are being asked to respond by the end of June and in cases where people’s bank details are not provided, the £150 will be credited to the property’s Council Tax account.
Cllr Lappin continued: “Since the Energy Rebate scheme was announced in February, we have encouraged people to sign up for Direct Debit payments as they are the easiest way we can make sure people receive the one-off £150 payment.
“Around 75,000 of those payments have been or are about to be made.
Those receiving a letter from the Council about the scheme are encouraged to respond as quickly as possible with the information requested to ensure payment can be made. Anyone receiving a payment not due to them should contact the Council as not declaring it could be classed as fraud.
Cllr Lappin added: “Since the Government announced the one-off £150 payment to help people facing soaring household fuel bills alongside rising prices, increases at the petrol pumps and additional National Insurance payments, we have been devising the mechanism for making the payments.
“We have needed to come up with a system that sees the £17,000,000-plus payments reach the people who need it and ensures we don’t see large amounts of public money falling into the wrong hands.
“I would urge anyone who receives a letter from us to use the unique code to send us their bank details so that we can get the payment to them as soon as possible.”
Information about the Council Tax Energy Rebate Scheme, including Frequently Asked Questions and an easy-read guide, is available at www.sefton.gov.uk/council-tax.
Sefton’s Council Taxpayers can still sign up to pay their Council Tax by Direct at https://forms.sefton.gov.uk/ddcounciltax/ You will need their Council Tax account reference to hand.
Council Taxpayers in Sefton can also opt to receive their bill electronically, which is easier plus it saves paper. You can sign up for paperless e-billing at https://forms.sefton.gov.uk/ebill/ Once again, you will need your Council Tax account reference to hand.