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Council tax energy bills support – Government needs to address ‘complex’ delivery issues to ensure households are protected

29 March 2022

Clive Betts, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee, has fired off the latest correspondence from the LUHC Committee to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, seeking clarification about the operation of the Chancellor’s announced policy that millions of households will receive a council tax rebate. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been copied into the correspondence.

The correspondence (29th March) from Clive Betts, LUHC Chair, is the latest in a series of letters from the LUHC Committee to press the Government on details of how the council tax rebate will be administered, the process for people to receive the £150 rebate, and the guidance and communications to councils who have been made responsible by the Chancellor of the Exchequer for delivering the rebate.

The correspondence also notes the series of recent or current Government examples of one-off grants paid to councils which attempt to assist households and individuals facing hardship and questions whether this, in effect, are moves to create, “a parallel, discretionary, locally-operated welfare benefit system outside the conventional one”.

Clive Betts, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee, said: “There are suggestions the Chancellor is looking again at a council tax rebate later this year to help households with increasing energy bills. The reality is the Chancellor’s first effort at support through a council tax rebate is already proving to be complex and there are a variety of issues which risk people being unable to access this help quickly and smoothly.

“The Government needs to get a grip on the operation of the council tax rebate and give clear guidance to councils so that this rebate is delivered to households reliably and effectively. If the Chancellor is minded to bring forward additional support to households through the council tax system later in the year then it is even more crucial that every effort is made to create a process that works now.”

The rebates are among measures announced by the Government with the aim of helping households with energy costs. The one-off payment of £150 will be paid by local authorities to people living in properties in council tax bands A to D. 

Previous LUHC Committee correspondence on the council tax rebate

Clive Betts, LUHC correspondence (16th March), raised a series of questions relating to the administration and delivery of the £150 council tax rebate. The Government’s response (24th March) is published here.

Clive Betts, LUHC Chair, letter (28th February) raised a series of issues including asking how qualifying households without a bank account will get the £150 rebate, the access to the rebate for those not using Direct Debits, whether those in pension credit will receive the council tax rebate in full, and also questions concerning how the discretionary fund will be distributed. The Secretary of State’s response (7th March) to this letter is available here.

Clive Betts, LUHC Committee Chair, letter (8th February) which sought further information from Mr Gove on a number of issues. The response from the Secretary of State (21st February 2022) did not fully address the points raised in the Chair’s original correspondence.

Further information

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