Kirklees Council has started processing payments for the Council Tax Energy Rebate scheme, a government initiative to support people with the rising cost of energy bills. Over the next few weeks, the council aims to have supported almost 95,000 residents, paying out more than £14million – a turnaround of around £1.5million per day.
Initial payments of the £150 rebate are currently being made to those who pay their council tax by direct debit. These payments can be processed more quickly, as a direct debit account allows a large amount of the eligibility and payment processing to be done automatically. Just under 95,000 direct debit payers have already been confirmed as eligible and can expect to receive their payments between now and 23 May.
The process for direct debit payers is still subject to checks due to the government’s assurance processes. If any issues have been flagged during this process – for example, if the latest direct debit payment failed, or a successful payment has not yet been taken – Kirklees Council will be contacting members of the public directly.
The council aims to make the Energy Rebate application form live soon after 23 May. This online form will be for members of the public who do not pay their council tax by direct debit, and therefore need to apply individually for the rebate. The council is currently working to make the process as streamlined as possible, enabling the £150 rebate to be paid into in residents’ bank accounts within two weeks of a successful application.
Once the application process is live, the council expects to process around 10,000 applications per day, paying out millions more to struggling households across Kirklees.
There will be provisions for residents who have other problems with the application process – for example, those who cannot provide a registered bank account. There will also be dedicated support available for anyone who struggles to use digital devices or the internet. The council is committed to helping every eligible Kirklees resident receive their rebate, no matter their circumstances or difficulties they face in applying.
While payments are still being processed, those in most urgent need of financial aid are also receiving crisis support through the council’s Local Welfare Provision. Any support provided between now and the rebate payment is additional to the rebate itself.
Councillor Paul Davies, Cabinet Member for Corporate, said:
“This rebate is crucial to support people through the current energy crisis and the rising cost of bills, which are having the biggest impact on households who were already struggling to get by.
“Arranging for this amount of money to be dispensed quickly and efficiently is a big job, but we’re absolutely committed to making sure the rebate benefits every single eligible household. Rebate payments have already begun to reach Kirklees residents’ accounts, and over the next few weeks we’ll be sending out around £1.5million every day.”