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Sefton Council writing to pensioners who qualify for Council Tax Reduction about one-off extra £80 cost of living payment

Sefton Council is writing to pensioners who qualify for Council Tax Reduction across the Borough to tell them they could qualify for an extra £80 to help with the cost of living.

After receiving funding from the Government through the Household Support Fund, the Council is using of the money to make a one-off £80 payment to Sefton pensioners who qualify for Council Tax Reduction.

Post Office

To collect the Household Support Fund payment, Sefton pensioners receiving the letter need to take it to any Post Office. They also need to take along any TWO of the following items as proof of identity:

  • Passport or driving licence
  • Council Tax Bill
  • DWP or Housing Benefit award Letter
  • Bus Pass or other photo ID card
  • Current utility or household bill
  • Signed Post Office / Bank card
  • Bank Statement

Proof of identity

The Post Office will issue the payment in cash. The name and address on the proof of identity must be the same as that shown on the letter, and payment must be collected within one month of the date on the letter. After this, the payment will no longer be valid.

The Household Support Fund has been created to provide help with significantly rising living costs including increases in energy costs, food, and water bills. The grant is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and can be used specifically to help pensioners with essential costs such as energy, food and water.

Much-needed

Cllr Paul Cummins, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “With many local people struggling to cope with the spiralling cost-of-living, I am pleased that Sefton Council, is able to distribute this much-needed additional funding for local pensioners.  We are using the Household Support Fund to try and make sure that those most in need in receive support.

“If people are experiencing severe hardship, a disaster or emergency, details of our Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/household-support.”

Housing Support Fund payments are being made from a cash-limited fund, which closes shortly. Further payments cannot be made once the Fund is closed.

You can find more about Cost of Living support and advice here.

Have your say on Sefton’s Climate Change Strategy with drop-in sessions

Sefton Council has launched a public consultation to collect views on how we can tackle climate change together.

Feedback from the consultation will be reported to councillors (people who make decisions) and be used to produce a Climate Change Community Engagement Plan. This will set out how the Council will engage with the community over the next phase of the climate change action plan. We will also put a summary of the results on the consultation hub called Your Sefton Your Say.

Hands holding small replica of EarthIn July 2019 Sefton Council declared a Climate Emergency. It was then agreed that the Council resolves to reduce operational emissions to net zero by 2030. This new consultation will enable the Council to understand better the needs of Sefton residents, business owners, organisations and investors, as it makes further decisions on tackling climate change.

As well as the online consultation, there will be in-person drop-in sessions in September where residents can give their views. These are taking place at

  • Waterloo Community Centre, 16 Great Georges Road, Waterloo, L22 1RD

Wednesday 14th September 11am till 1pm

  • Bootle Library, 220 Stanley Road, L20 3EN

Monday 12th September 1pm till 3pm

Thursday 22nd September 11am till 1pm

  • The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1DB

Thursday 15th September 1pm till 3pm

Wednesday 21st September 11am till 1pm

Cllr LappinCllr Paulette Lappin, Chair of Member Reference Group on Climate Emergency said “Climate change affects everyone, and we are already seeing the impacts on our beautiful borough. It is vital to hear the views of the public so we can work together to reduce our carbon emissions. This consultation is for everyone, and can help define our future.”

The Council is encouraging those living or working in Sefton, as well as business owners, organisations, entrepreneurs, and investors to share their views by completing the online survey at yourseftonyoursay.gov.uk

People are asked to read a copy of the Council’s Climate Change Emergency Plan summary at Climate Change Strategy Consultation (sefton.gov.uk) before taking part in the consultation in Sefton.

The consultation is now open and will run until Friday 30th September 2022.

 

Free events to be held to show residents how to keep warm and well this winter

Sefton Council will be hosting two Keep Warm, Keep Well events as part of its commitment to helping vulnerable people get through winter.

Image of someone staying warm next to a fire while holding a hot drinkThe Council’s Affordable Warmth team, in partnership with Sefton OPERA are holding two free events in September. The first will take place at Bootle Cricket Club on Monday 12th September from 10.30am to 3:30pm. The second event will be taking place at The Atkinson Centre in Southport, Monday 31st October, from 10.30am to 3:30pm.

Information stands will be open at both events between 10:30am and 12.30pm. Blood pressure checks, chair-based exercises, free goody bags and massages will also be on offer.

There will also be dance sessions taking place from 1.30pm onwards on both days, accompanied by live bands, music and entertainment.

Energy billsSefton Council recognises many households will struggle to pay their bills this winter due to the cost of living crisis. Autumn’s expected rise to £3,554 will leave average household bills 80 per cent higher going into the colder months when energy use soars. Many vulnerable people will be hit hard, including older people and those in ill-health, living in energy inefficient homes that are difficult and expensive to heat.

People can find out more information about the events by contacting Sefton Opera on 0151 330 0479 or 07452 867 648 admin@seftonopera.org.uk.

Anyone concerned about keeping warm at home should contact Sefton’s Affordable Warmth Team on 0151 934 2222.

People worried about paying gas and electricity bills or who are struggling due to rising prices in shops can find support and advice by visiting www.sefton.gov.uk/cost-of-living

Sefton Council’s Cabinet meeting on Thursday 1st September will consider the Authority’s response to the cost of living crisis.

Cllr Trish Hardy
Cllr Trish Hardy

When the Cabinet meeting papers were published, Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said:

“With their gas and electricity bills set to rocket and inflation rising to the highest rate in 40 years, households and business across Sefton will be wondering just how they are going to get through the coming winter and beyond.

“While Sefton Council has no magic solutions and like councils across the UK is hit by the same rises in costs to run its operations and services, it is vital we recognise people’s plight and work with our partners to provide what support and advice we can.”

Council’s Communications team devises Roads to Heaven and Hell playslists for visitors to Sefton coast

Having advised people how they can avoid the queues when travelling to Sefton’s beautiful beaches, the Council’s Communications team has come up with some in car sounds for people who did and who did not take its advice.

High tides mean that the beach parking normally available at Southport is closed, while at Ainsdale it is reduced to just 500 spaces. And with the National Trust’s Formby site usually filling up quickly, the Council has suggested other places people can find parking and avoid queues.

Heaven and Hell

SummerHeaven playlist graphicA team spokesperson said: “For those people who have taken our advice and headed to alternative destinations we’ve created the SeftonSoundsOfSummerHeaven playlist on Spotify , which includes tracks like On the Beach by Chris Rhea, The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations and Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves. Local band Red Rum Club also feature with Sweet Degrees.

Summerhell playlist graphic“But for those who haven’t taken our advice and are likely to be stuck in queues, there’s the SeftonSoundsOfSummerHell playlist which features tracks like Road to Nowhere by Talking Heads, Feeling hot, hot, hot by The Merrymen and Melting In The Sun by ELO. And Chris Rhea makes a second appearance with Road to Hell.”

Expecting a very busy few days along its coast, Sefton Council has reminded people it beaches are in easy walking distance from a number of Merseyrail stations.

Alternatives

It also suggested alternatives to Formby, which can fill up quickly, resulting in local congestion. Southport, Ainsdale and Crosby beach are all RNLI lifeguarded beaches with natural beauty and fantastic facilities, all within minutes of Formby.

Ainsdale Beach is just two stops on Merseyrail or 16 minutes’ drive from Formby, using a satnav at postcode PR8 2QA. Southport is five stops on Merseyrail or a 20-minute drive from Formby and Crosby Coastal Park is three stations or 29 minutes’ drive away.

The Council is asking those who do drive to its coast to park responsibly and considerately away from residential areas and to make sure there is access for residents and emergency service vehicles at all times.

Spaces

There are over 1,000 parking spaces close to Southport Beach at Esplanade Park and Ride, which people can find using a Sat Nav at postcode PR8 1RX. Costs are just £2 per day per car Monday to Saturday, including free bus service into Southport Town Centre.

On Sundays, the Esplanade site is a Car Park costing £5 all day. The Park and Ride Service on Sundays runs from Fairways at postcode PR9 0LA. The cost is £2 all day per car.

Seven hundred spaces are also available adjacent to the beach, on Marine Drive.

Facilities

The facilities at Ainsdale beach include men’s, women’s, and disabled toilets. A daily cleaning regime is in place, ensuring the amenities are kept clean and replenished during busy periods through the summer. Accessible toilets are also available at Crosby Coastal Park.

There are also fantastic food and drink outlets on offer at Crosby and Ainsdale beaches, providing much-needed refreshments in the hot weather, and everything you could need for a great day out in Southport.

With high temperatures forecast for the coming days, people can find information about staying safe and well at www.sefton.gov.uk/heatwave

Novel

The spokesperson added: “Coming up with these playlists was a novel idea by the team but there are some serious messages too.

“We want people to have a great day out at our coast in the fine weather, but we want to avoid them having to sit in queues.

“We want to minimise disruption and inconvenience to local residents.

“And we want people to stay safe in the sun and to look after our wonderful coast.”

ends

Sefton Council now making final, statutory, £150 payments under Government’s Energy Rebate Scheme

Sefton Council is now in the process making the final, statutory, £150 payments to local residents under the Government’s Energy Rebate Scheme.

Since payments started in April, Sefton Council has now paid out over almost £15 million to over approaching 100,000 Band A to D households in Sefton through scheme. It is now crediting the Council Tax accounts of people it has not been able to reach with £150 to make sure they do not miss out.

Registered

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory Compliance and Corporate Services said:   “We were able make the £150 payments automatically to those people who Pay their Council Tax by Direct Debit and over 29,000 people responded to the letters we sent them and registered so that we could pay them.

“However, there are around 9,500 eligible Band A to D households which we have been unable to contact, including people who have moved house during the process, so we are crediting their Council Tax accounts with £150 to ensure they benefit from the scheme.”

The Council is sending letters to those whose Council Tax accounts are being credited, top inform them of the £150 payment.

Discretionary funding

As the statutory phase of the Energy Rebate Scheme draws to a close, Sefton Council is already looking ahead at discretionary funding. Over £700,000 is available to the Council to allocate to Sefton households that are in need, as well as those that do not fall into the Council Tax bands A to D category.

Discretionary payments are planned on specific groups and the Council is aiming to minimise the need for any registration procedure to help ensure payments can be sent as soon as possible. This included groups such as those who already receive means-tested Council Tax Reduction. This would remove the need for an application procedure as the Council is already aware of their financial circumstances.

People living in Council Tax bands A to D will receive a further payment of £20 on top of the £150 they have already received making a total of £170. Residents granted a full Council Tax exemption, due to being severely mentally impaired will receive £170.

The Council also plans to make a £170 payment to Council Tax-payers in band E to H properties who are in receipt of means-tested Council Tax Reduction at that property.

Letters are being sent to those Band E to H Council Tax-payers who don’t pay by Direct Debit so that payments can be made directly to their bank accounts.

Additional payments

Sefton Council’s Cabinet has also agreed that additional payments be made to households with children that are in receipt of Council Tax Reduction. Amounts would be £20 for households with one or two children and £30 for those with three or more children.

Housing providers, charities and non-resident owners who are not liable for Council Tax or and where the responsibility for Council Tax falls with someone else, are also being targeted for payments.

Financial pressures

Cllr Lappin added: “With more and more local people facing increasing financial pressures, Sefton Council wants to make sure it gets these discretionary payments out to them as quickly as possible.

“Most of them we can pay automatically, but there is a small number in the Band E to H Council Tax-payer group who we are writing to, asking them to respond within two weeks.

“If we don’t hear from them, the money will be credited to their Council Tax accounts.”

People who are facing financial difficulties can find information about support and advice here. 

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