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Discretionary Council Tax Payment Scheme Support Agreed

7 June 2022

Money notes bank

Over the past six weeks, West Devon Borough Council have paid 13,000 households the £150 Council Tax Rebate Scheme totalling nearly £2 million. At the Hub meeting held today, Tuesday 7 June, they met to approve a further scheme to distribute a Discretionary Council Tax Rebate.

Following the Government's announcement for additional support for households in Council Tax Bands A to D, West Devon Borough Council were awarded £2,875,350. The Council were also awarded an additional £ 110,550 to support vulnerable households not eligible for the main £150 Council Tax Rebate scheme. 

The Council has started to process over 900 applications that it has received from those households who have already applied online. However there are still nearly 4,000 households that have not claimed, or do not know that they are eligible, including those who already receive reductions in their Council Tax. 

The Council has been working on a voucher scheme that eligible households can cash their £150 directly at any Post Office. Households will receive a letter from the Council explaining more about how they will receive this money in the next few weeks. 

While this scheme is being set up, the fastest way to get payment still continues to be by filling in a claim form on our website here: www.westdevon.gov.uk/energy-rebate

The discretionary scheme agreed today will mean that the Council will be able to give payments to residents who are not eligible for the main £150 Council Tax Rebate scheme.

The discretionary scheme will aim to support residents who meet the following criteria:

  • Those that live in a Council Tax property band E-H and are currently being paid a Council Tax Reduction Scheme payment
  • Those that live in a property where the owner or landlord is responsible for Council Tax, but the household or tenants are directly liable for the energy bills. This could include people living in a house of multiple occupation or someone under the age of 18. 
  • Those that live in a Council Tax property band E-H and not currently being paid a Council Tax Reduction Scheme payment, but have savings of no more than £6,000 and a weekly net income less than the following: 
  • £250 for a single person
  • £320 for a couple
  • £400 for a family (lone parent or couple) with one dependent child
  • £500 for a family (lone parent or couple) with more than one dependent child

If the Council has any funding remaining, the Hub will discuss a further set of criteria in July.

West Devon Borough Council's, Cllr Chris Edmonds, Hub Member for Council Tax, said: "With over 4,000 households still having not yet claimed this rebate, our team have been working on another method to make it easier for our residents to claim, by being able to cash their £150 over the counter at any Post Office. This will take a few weeks for us to set up, so if residents prefer, they can still choose to complete the online claim form on our website instead.

"If our staff contact you by telephone, they will not ask for your bank details, personal data or passwords over the telephone. If we need further information, you will be asked to provide it on our website www.westdevon.gov.uk

"Please beware of fraudsters who may try to cold call you to try and gain access to your bank account details. If you are concerned at all, please contact us directly.

"There is a range of other direct and indirect financial support available for those who do not meet the requirements of these rebates. You can find this on our one-stop support directory on where to go for help that we offer, and that is provided from other organisations on a wide range of subjects."

West Devon Borough Council's, Cllr Tony Leech, Hub Member for Leisure, Health and Wellbeing, said: "It is important to us to support those who need the help the most. The Government allocated the main fund, but this time we are able to choose to put the money where the need is the greatest. That is why we are aiming these payments at those who missed out on the first set of £150 payments.

"There is often misunderstanding that those who live in a more expensive house don't need financial help, but that very often isn't the case. There are many reasons why people struggle with gas and electricity bills, so try not to judge people harshly without knowing their story. 

"As is always the case, our main objective is to get the money into the pockets of the residents as quickly as we possibly can. Thank you to our staff for getting the £150 payments out as quickly as they can by working so flexibly. Our quick and efficient system has ensured we are amongst some of the leading councils nationally on our payments."

To find out about the range of support on offer, both from the Council and other organisations, please visit the Council's Support Directory here: www.westdevon.gov.uk/support-directory

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