An investigation by JPI Media revealed that 5.2 million people in England – including 38,006 in Sheffield – will be left out of the new £150 council tax rebate the government has announced to help people cope with sky-rocketing energy bills.
These households – which includes student properties – will be left fighting over a £144 million pot of cash being handed out via local councils, equivalent to just £28 each.
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Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, slammed the government’s plans last week and said the Warm Homes Discount should have been extended instead.
He said: “As the gas and oil companies announce record profits, the Chancellor could have done far more to help those who’ll pay the price…
“The council tax discount leaves people having to find almost 80 per cent of the extra costs at a time when so many other prices are rising faster than wages. Those renting in larger houses in multiple occupation will miss out on this support too. It’s a really worrying situation for local people concerned about spiraling living costs.
“With no extra taxes on the profits of oil and gas producers, despite giants like Shell announcing unprecedented profits of £12 billion, it’s clear the Chancellor wants to protect his friends more than the one in five people who are already skipping meals to pay for their increased energy bills.”
Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East and chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities committee, recently wrote to Michael Gove questioning the interventions.
He said: “While the Government’s recent announcements are welcome, there are important questions about the implementation of the council tax rebate that need answering.
“Much more detail is needed on how some households – for example those who receive council tax support – will be paid. And what will happen in households where tenants pay their council tax to their landlord? It is essential that the payments go to tenants and we avoid the possibility of landlords receiving multiple rebates.
“These issues will need ironing out quickly so that rebates can be paid promptly to help people with rising bills.
“We also need firm assurances that councils will not incur any further costs from administering the rebates – which has the potential to be very costly.”
Who is eligible for the £150 council tax rebate?
In Sheffield, 87.1 per cent of households will get the tax rebate, due to be applied from April.
Eligibility is based on the value of someone’s home rather than their income.
Households in council tax bands A to D will be eligible for the £150 discount. This excludes 4.5 million homes in the higher value bands E to H in England, some of whom will be on low incomes. It also leaves out 660,000 households which don’t currently pay council tax, such as student households.
However, people living in band A to D homes who get local council tax support, where their bills are discounted or written off by the local council, should still qualify.
Second homes and empty homes are ineligible for the payouts.