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Almost all Sefton’s Council Tax band A to D properties eligible for £150 energy rebate, reminder

Energy RebateNearly every Sefton property in Council Tax bands A to D, is entitled to the payment, which was announced by the Government in February.

Eligible

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory Compliance and Corporate Services said today: “We want everyone who is eligible, and that’s almost everyone whose Council Tax band is in A to D, to get this Council Tax Energy Rebate.

“If you get a letter from Sefton Council asking you to register your bank details, it’s because you are due that £150, so please follow the guidance on the letter and register today.”

By the end of last week, around 15,600 households in Sefton had registered after receiving a Council letter.

Sefton Council has now paid out almost £10 million of the one-off, £150 Council Tax Energy Rebate payments to around 65,800 of the Borough’s households. The Authority is now working hard to ensure the remaining eligible addresses receive theirs as soon as possible.

Payments

Payments so far have been to those households that pay their Council Tax by Direct Debit. Approaching 40,000 letters have also been sent to households that don’t pay by Direct Debit or where Council Tax and bank account details aren’t an exact match.

Cllr Lappin added: “The letters, on Sefton Council Headed Paper each contains a unique, 14-character key code made up of a mixture of numbers, upper-case and lower-case letters, along with details of where to register.

“If anyone is in doubt, I urge them to visit www.sefton.gov.uk/energyrebate where there’s lots of information about the scheme, who’s eligible and how to register if you receive a letter.

“We’ve even got a video there to help people make sure the letters are genuine.”

Exceptions

The few exceptions that are not eligible under the national scheme are:

  • those who did not live in Sefton on 1st April;
  • second home-owners;
  • houses in multiple occupation where the Council Tax bill is in landlord’s name.

Mechanism

Last week Cllr Lappin explained that since the 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 the Council been devising the mechanism for making the payments.

She said: “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.”

Find out how you can get the Council Tax Energy Rebate.

Foster Care Fortnight Celebrations at the Strand Shopping Centre

It’s Foster Care Fortnight (9th – 22st May), the annual celebration which allows us to raise awareness about how fostering makes a real difference to children’s lives.

The theme for this year’s Foster Care Fortnight is #FosteringCommunities and we wanted to give the local community, businesses and services who are all part of our ‘Fostering Community’, the opportunity to hear first-hand, the heart-warming and exceptional experiences from people whose lives have been touched by fostering.

To do this, our friendly team, Sefton’s Foster Carers, and young people, will be at the Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle for 4 days for you to come and chat to us. We will also be bringing some great events and activities for you to get involved in so please come along.

Wednesday 18th May – Saturday 21st May

Strand Shopping Centre – Upper Level, Unit 165 Parkside (Next to JD Sports and opposite Greggs Bakers)

Events and Activities

Decorate a Feather for our Art Installation

Our #EverydayAngel campaign celebrates our foster carers, who are our #EverydayAngels and it also urges local people to think about giving a loving home to a child and become their #EverydayAngel.

In line with our campaign, we are excited to be developing an art installation which consists of hundreds of paper feathers which will make up a pair of larger angel wings. Our fostering families have already been making our individual feathers look beautiful and we are also inviting you to pop along to the Strand to decorate your own to be added to the display.

BE AN ANGEL

You can become part of our #EverydayAngel team by coming along and taking a selfie in front of the fabulous neon wing stand that we will be bringing to the Strand while we are there. Make your visit to us even more memorable by taking a snap of you and your friends to post on Instagram or Twitter.

 

Wednesday 18th, 10 – 4pm Drop in Anytime

Our friendly team including our foster carers will be on hand for you to drop in anytime and have a cup of tea and a chat. In your own time, you’ll be able to speak to experienced foster carers and the team about how to become a Foster Carer and the benefits that come with it.

Thursday 19th May, 10.30 – 12noon Open Discussion Q&A

You are invited to be part of an audience listening to a great panel of speakers including our foster carers, young people whose lives have been turned around and representatives from the Council who are supporting our fostering families.

The event will be introduced and led by Laura Knights, Sefton Council’s Head of Children’s Social Care.

Will also be playing a video we have produced with 14-year-old Jamie who is from Sefton and who is currently living in foster care. In this heart-warming video, Jamie shares his wishes and feelings past and present.

Friday 20th May 10 – 4pm Drop in Anytime

Another chance for you to meet our friendly team including our foster carers who will be on hand for you to drop in anytime and have a cup of tea and a chat.

In your own time, you’ll be able to speak to experienced foster carers and the team about how to become a foster carer and the benefits that come with it.

Saturday 21st May 11 – 1pm Weekend Info Session

If you’ve been thinking about fostering what better place to learn more than at our weekend information session.

Meet one of our amazing foster carers Dawn, and Amina, a young person who has experienced living in foster care and now lives with Dawn.

They are eager to share their story about how fostering has transformed their lives. You’ll also be able to speak to the team about how to become a foster carer and the benefits that come with it.

We would ask you to register your interest in our events so we have an idea of numbers.

Email fostering@sefton.gov.uk or call us on 0800 923 2777

Sefton Council Loan Shark Warning

With people facing higher bills for household fuel, food, petrol at the pumps and new, higher National Insurance payments from the start of April, Sefton Council is warning people not to turn to loan sharks.

Unscrupulous and unlicensed

Recently there have been a number of press reports of desperate households facing the effects of cost-of-living rises being trapped by unscrupulous and unlicensed lenders providing loans with interest rates at astronomical levels.

Today, loan sharks often use social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, to advertise their illegal loans and target potential victims. Initially their offers can seem an attractive short-term fix. However, seemingly attractive loans can quickly end in intimidation, threats and violence to enforce repayment and borrowers trapped in a spiral of debt.

Upsurge

Simon Burnett, Sefton Council’s Head of Communities said: “At times like this we tend to see an upsurge in the activities of loan sharks preying on vulnerable families facing hard decisions over their finances.

“They make it sound like they want to help but they do not have their victims’ best interests at heart. In fact, they are actively looking to trap struggling families into sky-rocketing debts backed up with threats, intimidation and violence as they demand payment.

“Sefton Council can help people who are in financial difficulty and the sooner they contact us the greater the chance that we can work with them to find workable solutions.”

Support Hub

The Sefton Support Hub at www.sefton.gov.uk/seftonsupporthub is a digital One Stop Shop where the Borough’s residents can find help, advice and guidance, as well as financial and social support.

Recently the Government announced it will be extending the Household Support Fund. People can access this through Sefton’s Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme (ELAS), the Affordable Warmth service and through vouchers. The Council also allocates funding to schools to support pupils receiving free school meals.

Information about the one-off Council Tax Energy Rebate, Affordable Warmth and help with fuel bills, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction and the Council’s Exceptional Hardship Fund can also be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/energy-rebate.

Sefton residents who don’t have Internet access can contact the Council’s Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).

The Council’s Invest Sefton, Homeless Prevention and Early Help services can also provide support. And advice about benefits is at www.sefton.gov.uk/welfare-rights-team

Online selling

Recently loan sharks have been targeting people through local, online selling and community sites and groups as well as on social media. Often, they advertise loans requiring with no credit checks. They have also been known to ask for people’s details including copies of their passport or pictures of their house, street and house number.

Anyone who thinks they have been targeted by a loan shark can report it in confidence to an Illegal Money Lending Team by calling 0300 555 2222, texting

LOAN SHARK and the details to 60003 or by emailing reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

Updates can be found at @loansharknews and www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

There is also a Stop Loan Sharks page on the online Sefton Directory at https://www.seftondirectory.com/kb5/sefton/directory/service.page?id=fIqdscvjDU4

Sefton Residents can also get in touch via Sefton Council’s Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).

Sefton’s Blundellsands & Victoria ward councillors funding study to help determine future of Crosby’s Coronation Park Lake

Sefton’s Blundellsands and Victoria ward councillors have committed funding for a report on possible future uses for the lake in Crosby’s Coronation Park.

Prioritised

Following a recent consultation about the potential development of the Park, improvements to the lake have been prioritised by the Coronation Park Friends Group working with Green Sefton.

Cllrs Natasha Carlin, Christine Howard and Diane Roscoe who represent the Blundellsands ward and Cllrs Leslie Byrom, Janet Grace and Michael Roche who represent the Victoria ward have agreed to make funds available for a consultant feasibility report on potential ideas for the lake.

Family-friendly

Announcing the funding, the two wards’ councillors said: “The Lake is an important focal point in Coronation Park, and we want to develop a new vision for it that is family-friendly and is sustainable, not relying on mains water.

“There have been suggestions that it could be more of a natural feature where local people can experience local wildlife in the future.

“Like local residents and the Coronation Park Friends Group we are keen to see the lake returned to an attractive feature of the park and look forward to seeing the outcome of this feasibility study.”

Find out more about Sefton’s parks and greenspaces.

May start for Council consultation on selective and additional licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

In May, Sefton Council will be a carrying out a public consultation on its proposal to extend its Selective and Additional (HMO) licensing schemes for a further five-years.

Under the scheme, private landlords in some parts of Sefton have been required to licence their properties since 1st March 2018. It ends on 28th February 2023.

Further five years

In December 2021, Sefton Council’s Cabinet agreed to consult with residents, private landlords, businesses, and other stakeholders on proposals to re-designate their Selective and Additional (HMO) licensing schemes for the further five-year period from March next year until March 2028.

The 12-week consultation will start on Monday 9th May 2022 and will cover the proposals to re-designate Selective Licensing across Bootle. It will also include proposals for Additional (HMO) Licensing across parts of Seaforth/Waterloo/Brighton-le-Sands and central Southport.

Improvements

As a result of the current licencing schemes, Sefton Council has been able to make improvements in the standards of management by private landlords and the living conditions for tenants.

Extending the scheme for a further five years will enable the Council to build on this success and bring about further improvements in landlords’ management practices as well as in property conditions across the private rented sector to benefit tenants and the communities affected.

Standards

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Thanks to the Selective and Additional (HMO) licensing schemes, we have brought about significant improvements to the standards of management and property conditions in the private rented sector in the parts of the Borough where the scheme was introduced.

“Through re-designating the licensing schemes, we can build on the improvements already made and will continue to engage with landlords to realise our vision of creating strong and resilient communities and the opportunity to live in good quality homes.

“We remain committed to make these areas safe and attractive places in which to live and through the proposed redesign of the licensing schemes we are seeking the full co-operation of landlords and their tenants in making this happen.”

Further details on the proposals and consultation will be available closer to the Monday 9th May start date.

Anyone wanting to be kept updated on the proposed licensing schemes, can contact landlord.licensing@sefton.gov.uk.

You can find out more about Additional (HMO) Licensing in Sefton here.

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