Energy bills: Rishi Sunak gives one-off repayable £200 discount to households

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Energy bills: Rishi Sunak gives one-off repayable £200 discount to households

Postby dutchman » Thu Feb 03, 2022 7:00 pm

Many to get additional support from £150 rebate on council tax, but no help for businesses amid rising costs

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A one-off repayable £200 discount and a rebate on council tax bills have been announced by Rishi Sunak in a £9bn package designed to “take the sting” out of a £700-a-year rise in the average household’s energy bills in April.

The chancellor said 80% of households would receive £350 in support this year in response to the decision by the energy regulator Ofgem to raise its price cap to just under £2,000.

In an attempt to mitigate Britain’s cost of living crisis, Sunak said:

  • All households would receive £200 off their energy bills in October – but then pay the discount back by £40 a year over five years from 2023

  • Council taxpayers in England in bands A to D would receive a rebate of £150 from their bills in April, which will not have to be paid back.

  • Local authorities would receive £150m to make discretionary payments to the neediest.

  • The number of poorer households eligible for the warm homes discount – worth £150 from October – would be increased by a third to 3m.
Adam Scorer, the chief executive of National Energy Action, a fuel poverty charity, said: “We needed deep, targeted support for the most vulnerable. We have shallow, broad measures for all. That simply does not work.”

The charity warned that the depth of support offered by the Treasury’s package of measures was not proportionate to the financial toll which is expected to drive the number of UK households living in fuel poverty to the highest level on record by this spring.

“A household paying by prepayment [meter] will still have a £500 increase when you take into account rises from October 2021 and April 2022,” Scorer said. “We expect the government will have no choice but to return to the issue of spiralling fuel poverty and another price rise later this year.”

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Re: Energy bills: Rishi Sunak gives one-off repayable £200 discount to households

Postby dutchman » Thu Feb 03, 2022 7:04 pm

Many of the poorest homes don't pay Council Tax so won't qualify for a £150 discount. Nor will they qualify for the warm homes discount.

This will hit people on fixed rate benefits such as pensions, employment support and jobseeker's allowance the hardest. :fuming:
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Re: Energy bills: Rishi Sunak gives one-off repayable £200 discount to households

Postby dutchman » Fri Feb 04, 2022 1:53 am

Rishi Sunak tells Britons to brace for even higher energy costs in autumn

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Rishi Sunak has warned households suffering from Britain’s worsening cost of living crisis to brace themselves for further increases in energy costs later this year, as critics said his £9bn emergency package was insufficient to prevent millions more struggling with fuel poverty.

Prompted into action by the prospect of the average household paying an extra £700 a year for gas and electricity, the chancellor said he accepted it was a “very difficult time” but that a combination of temporary, repayable discounts and council tax rebates would help soften the blow.

Sunak said that as things stood, the price cap of £1,971 set by the energy regulator Ofgem would rise further in the autumn, prompting calls for the government to do more to help those on the poorest incomes.

The Resolution Foundation thinktank said even with the government support, the number of people living in fuel stress – in households where more than 10% of the budget is spent on energy – would double to 5 million.

“These energy crisis measures are woefully inadequate and will leave those on the lowest incomes and in the least efficient homes in deep peril,” said Adam Scorer, the chief executive of charity National Energy Action. “We needed deep, targeted support for the most vulnerable. We have shallow, broad measures for all. That simply does not work.”

Analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – a charity that focuses on measures to alleviate poverty – showed that, even accounting for Sunak’s support package, families on low incomes would be spending an average of 16% of their incomes after housing costs on energy bills, compared with 5% for middle-income families. Single-adult households on low incomes would spend a “shocking” 43% on average of their income after housing costs on energy bills, it found.

The IFS said the council tax rebate was only loosely targeted at the neediest people. Almost half of those living in homes in council tax banks A to D were in the top half of the income distribution, some of them in the top income bracket.

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Re: Energy bills: Rishi Sunak gives one-off repayable £200 discount to households

Postby dutchman » Sun Feb 06, 2022 6:55 pm

Thousands of tenants in England could miss out on council tax cut

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Tenants in England whose rent includes council tax, or who live in homes in a council tax band above D, are among those who could miss out on the £150 grant announced by the government last week to reduce the sting of sharply rising energy bills.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced measures last Thursday after the regulator, Ofgem, lifted the maximum rate suppliers can charge for an average dual-fuel energy tariff by £693 to almost £2,000 a year.

Sunak said every household would get a one-off repayable £200 discount on their bills in October and a rebate on council tax. However, charities and thinktanks have raised concerns that using council tax as a means to reduce the rising cost of energy is inefficient and unfair, particularly for those who do not own their own homes.

The Labour and Cooperative MP Dame Meg Hillier described the plan as policymaking “on the hoof”, saying that while using council tax to distribute money looked simple, the reality was a lot more complicated.

“The housing situation isn’t as simple as Whitehall thinks it is,” said Hillier, the MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch in east London. “I have a lot of HMOs [houses in multiple occupation] in my constituency. If the landlord pays [the council tax], do they then take it off the tenants’ rent?

“They’re using the council tax account as a way of getting money to people, so if you’re not paying council tax directly or don’t have an account, presumably you are not getting any money.”

Hillier suggested the government package was not “going to touch the sides” for struggling households. “People will still be having to make hard choices.” They were already shopping around to save money on a pint of milk, she said: “If that is the margin you are working on, £150 off a near £700 rise in energy bills is not going to cut it.”

The Resolution Foundation also criticised the plan to distribute money via the council tax system. It said 640,000 households in England in the bottom 30% based on income lived in properties rated E and above. It would also be hard to get the cash to the 25% of households who did not pay their council tax by direct debit, the thinktank suggested.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said energy bills were a big area of uncertainty for private renters and nearly a fifth were already in arrears.

“For renters or sharers whose bills are included in their rent, the benefit of the rebate and loans won’t come to them and some landlords may still increase rents to make up any shortfall,” said Darren Baxter, the charity’s housing policy and partnerships manager.

Other groups, such as students, who are exempt from paying council tax, have also complained about being ignored. Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, the NUS vice-president, said Sunak had “ghosted” students. “Students are already under extreme financial pressure,” she said, adding that thousands of them were using food banks.

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Re: Energy bills: Rishi Sunak gives one-off repayable £200 discount to households

Postby dutchman » Wed Mar 02, 2022 7:28 pm

Council tax rebate: how people in Coventry and Warwickshire can claim £150 payment

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Cash-strapped families grappling with sharp cost of living increases are in line for a much-needed financial boost this spring.

In what officials hope will help households cope as energy, food and petrol prices soar, the Government has pledged to give beleaguered taxpayers a break in the sum of a £150 council tax rebate.

The payment, which does not have to be repaid (unlike the government's £200 energy bill discount in the autumn), is available to people who live in properties rated A-D by Council Tax band.

The move is set to benefit around 80 per cent of households in England. The rebate will not be paid for second homes or empty properties.

Households in Bands A-D that pay less than £150 or do not pay Council Tax as a result of Local Council Tax Support, and people in receipt of the Single Person Discount in Bands A-D, will be eligible for the £150 payment.

Distribution of the rebates will be administered by the local authority in charge of your council tax.

In Coventry, that's Coventry City Council, and in Warwickshire, that's the two district councils of Warwick and Stratford and the three borough councils of Rugby, Nuneaton and Bedworth and North Warwickshire.

Warwick District Council has put together the following information. While it's aimed at only residents on its patch, much of it applies for people across the region.

We expect the vast majority of people who pay by Direct Debit to receive this money in April. If you would like to sign up to pay your council tax by Direct Debit you can do so on the Direct Debit page.

For households in Bands A-D who do not pay by Direct Debit, their councils will be ready to process their claims in April.

More information about how you can claim your payment if you do not pay by Direct Debit will be detailed by the councils at a later date.

Payments will not reduce your council tax bill and are made as one off payments per household.

For those who need help with their energy bills but are not eligible – such as households on income support in higher bands (E-H) or with properties in bands A-D that are exempt from council tax – local authorities will receive £144 million of discretionary funding to help.

Warwick District Council will publish its discretionary scheme on this page once more information is provided by Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

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Re: Energy bills: Rishi Sunak gives one-off repayable £200 discount to households

Postby dutchman » Wed Mar 02, 2022 7:31 pm

I used to have a direct debit but once I reached state pension age it was no longer needed and the city council deleted all the details so now I will have to apply all over again! :clown:
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Re: Energy bills: Rishi Sunak gives one-off repayable £200 discount to households

Postby rebbonk » Wed Mar 02, 2022 11:46 pm

I wouldn't trust the council with a DD.

I see this as yet another act of coercion towards going down the route of allowing 'authorities' unfettered access to my bank accounts. The simplest (and cheapest) way to administer this 'rebate' would be to remove the amount from this year's council tax bill for all qualifying properties. But I guess that's too easy for local authorities to get their heads around?
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Re: Energy bills: Rishi Sunak gives one-off repayable £200 discount to households

Postby dutchman » Sun Mar 06, 2022 10:24 pm

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Re: Energy bills: Rishi Sunak gives one-off repayable £200 discount to households

Postby rebbonk » Mon Mar 07, 2022 12:28 am

:two_thumbs:

Thanks for that Dutchman. I'll be sending this month's meter readings a couple of days early. I've just set a reminder. ;)
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Re: Energy bills: Rishi Sunak gives one-off repayable £200 discount to households

Postby dutchman » Mon Mar 07, 2022 1:57 am

I heard someone suggest deliberately inflating the meter reading to take advantage of current prices.
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