How to claim the £150 council tax rebate
- Credit: PA
Amid the cost of living crisis, people across England are being urged to set up direct debits with their local council to receive a £150 council tax rebate.
The money is part of a £9 billion energy bills rebate to help families cope with the rising cost of electricity and heating.
Here's all you need to know.
What is the current situation?
The energy price cap is set to rise from April 1 and will see an increase of £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year which is anticipated to impact millions of families.
Driven by a global boom in gas prices over the past few months, energy prices will affect default tariff customers that haven't switched to a fixed deal.
Experts have warned that as well as the bill and rate hikes, people will also be hit by 'hidden' increases, as businesses pass on their cost rises to the public.
A further 10pc energy price cap rise is expected in October, while, The Bank of England increases base rate to 0.5pc which experts anticipate will lead to higher mortgage rates.
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Experts have also predicted that inflation will rise to 7.25pc in April.
The situation has prompted fears that some families will be forced to choose between heating and eating.
What is the council tax rebate?
To help meet the rising cost of living, chancellor Rishi Sunak is introducing a £350 government support package for families.
Households will receive a £150 rebate on their council tax bill in April if they are within bands A-D, but councils will pay the money directly into people’s bank accounts instead of taking it off council tax bills.
People who receive a single person’s discount or other council tax support will still receive the full £150.
There will also be an additional £200 rebate on energy bills in October, but this will have to be repaid over five years.
How do I claim it?
Households living in a property valued in council tax bands A to D as their main home will be eligible for a £150 council tax rebate.
To claim, people can set up direct debits with their local council in order to receive the rebate.
People who pay council tax via direct debit will see the money go directly into their bank accounts from April, but those who do not pay by direct debit will be contacted by their council and invited to make a claim.
What have the government said?
Prime minister Boris Johnson said chancellor Rishi Sunak set out the plans to help families deal with the price hike.
Mr Johnson said: "The chancellor has set out plans to help families with energy costs with unprecedented measures to abate council tax by £150 in addition to all the other schemes that we are putting forward.
"We need to meet the long-term impacts of the spike in energy prices and that’s why I will be setting out an energy independence plan for this country in the course of the next few days to ensure that we undo some of the damage of previous decisions taken, so that we prepare our people for the long term and its sustainable, cost efficient energy supply.”
Secretary of State for Levelling Up Rt Hon, Michael Gove, added that the support will help the most vulnerable and urged people to claim the rebate if they can.
He said: "As we emerge from the pandemic, we understand the pressures facing many families as global inflation levels increase.
"The support we have introduced will help millions of people, particularly those on the lowest incomes and the most vulnerable.
"We continue to stand behind the British people and I urge everyone who is eligible to claim this rebate to do so."
But Labour shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, called Mr Sunak's proposal "a buy now, pay later scheme" and said "Labour will keep bills low with a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas producers with booming profits."
While Sir Keir Starmer called the government's approach a "total mess" and accused the prime minister of “protecting energy profits, not working people.”
What else do I need to know?
An extra £144 million will also be given to councils to provide discretionary support to vulnerable households who may not qualify for the £150 council tax rebate. This includes people on low incomes in council tax bands E to H.
Along with rising energy bills, there is also a one-year 1.25pc National Insurance rate rise due in April to help pay for social care and NHS funding.
The Bank of England has warned that it expects CPI inflation to peak at 7.25pc in April, following the increase to energy prices, before falling back.
Householders can find their council tax banding via Check your Council Tax band.