Sefton Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve further, discretionary funding to help households meet their energy bills as part of the Government’s Energy Rebate Scheme.
At the start of June, Sefton Council confirmed that more than £12.5 million had been paid to 83,500 Council Tax Band A to D households. It also said that 17,700 households had responded to letters from Sefton Council asking for them register their bank details securely and that reminder letters were going to those still yet to sign up.
Over £700,000 of discretionary funding is now 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.
To speed up the process, the Council is planning to focus discretionary payments on specific groups such as those on 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.
Under the proposed scheme, people living in Council Tax bands A to D would receive an extra payment of £20. Council Tax-payers in band E-H properties who are in receipt of means-tested Council Tax Reduction at that property would receive £170. This is the same as the £150 paid to those in band A-D, plus £20.
Residents granted a full Council Tax exemption, due to being severely mentally impaired, would also receive £170.
Payments to these three groups, for which no applications would be needed, would total around £465,000 leaving a balance of around £243,000, of discretionary funding to be allocated. Sefton Council’s Cabinet is being asked to consider using these funds to make additional payments 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.
A further group for consideration is those that have been excluded from the core Energy rebate scheme, due to them not being liable for Council Tax or and where the responsibility for Council Tax falls with someone else such as a housing provider, charity or non-resident owner. Where these people can provide evidence of occupation and direct payment of energy costs, they could receive between £50 and £150 depending on their individual circumstances.
Where possible, discretionary payments would be paid directly into recipients’ bank accounts.
Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory Compliance and Corporate Services said:
“Now that Sefton Council has successfully paid the majority of Council Tax Energy Rebate payments to the vast majority of eligible households in the Borough, I am keen that we now extend these discretionary awards to more households facing the extreme difficulties that have been created by today’s economic climate.”
Sefton Council will start to process Discretionary payments once the Band A to D payments have been completed. More details of the scheme will be publicised at that point, which is likely to be around late July, and the Council will start contacting those who are eligible at the same time.
The Council is asking people not to call the Contact Centre about the Discretionary Payment scheme as no further information is available at this time.