MORE than 2,000 Redditch households could miss out on the government’s council tax rebate scheme, say local Liberal Democrats.
The government is to give a £150 council tax rebate to help with soaring energy bills to those householders whose homes are in council tax bands A to D.
Figures show that for Redditch this would apply to some 31,992 properties, say the Lib Dems.
However a financial watchdog estimates that around a third of these will not be paying their council tax bill by direct debit and therefore won’t automatically benefit from the rebate.
Of these, around 80 per cent are expected to apply for the rebate, the Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast.
This would leave around 2,115 families in Redditch in danger of missing out on the £150 support, giving the Treasury a £317,201 windfall from this lack of take-up in the area.
Local Lib Dems are demanding the government fully funds councils to help them process the scheme or as a last resort, post a £150 cheque to each eligible household in Redditch to ensure no-one misses out.
Mark Tomes, chair of Redditch Liberal Democrats, said: “It is staggering that thousands of families in Redditch could miss out because of this Conservative Government’s half-baked plans. I worry for those who are older and less well off who are likely to be disproportionately impacted by this because they don’t pay their council tax by direct debit.”
A spokesperson for Redditch Borough Council said: “We would urge anyone who does not already pay their council tax by direct debit to sign up for it, as this is the simplest and easiest way to ensure receiving the funds quickly, straight into your account.
“We will shortly be writing to all customers that do not currently pay by direct debit to prompt them to claim this money and let them know how they can do this if direct debit is not a suitable option for them.
“We will also be including helpful information and sign posting to schemes, support, and advice available to help residents reduce their energy costs.
“Our team are working very hard to set everything up so that when received we can issue this rebate as fast as possible.
“We politely request that residents do not contact our revenues team by phone or email about this at the moment.”
Residents can look out for more information, get timescale updates and sign up for Direct Debit at www.redditchbc.gov.uk/GovCTrebate.