Oldham households are being urged to sign-up to pay their Council Tax by Direct Debit, as the council aims to pay those who are eligible for an energy rebate, as soon as possible.
Local authorities are set give households in Council Tax bands A to D, a one-off payment of £150 to help towards their energy bills from the 1 April.
This comes as part of the government’s response to the ongoing rise in energy costs, of which gas and electricity bills look set to soar by 54 per cent by the start of the new financial year.
To avoid any delays in payment, the local authority is encouraging residents to set up their Direct Debit, so the council has the necessary banking records to make the process of issuing rebates a lot quicker.
Eligible households who don’t have a Direct Debit for their Council Tax will still receive their rebate, only it may take longer to receive payment.
This is because the council must contact those affected with details of how to claim their payment.
Councillor Abdul Jabbar MBE, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Low Carbon, said: “We want to make the process of issuing these vital payments to eligible households as smooth and as quick as possible.
“Many residents are already facing the difficult decisions on whether to heat their homes or to eat, which is why it’s important we issue this rebate as soon as we can as a lot of people will be relying on this small relief to help with their rising energy bills.
“Direct Debits are a much easier and safer way of paying your Council Tax bill anyway, as not only does it save you time and money in not having to queue or pay for stamps, you have a guarantee that your payment will come out of your bank account on the same day of every month and you won’t have to worry about forgetting to pay.”
Eligible households paying their Council Tax by Direct Debit will be the first to receive payment and this will go directly into the bank account used to pay their Council Tax bill.
Rebate payments will only be made after the Direct Debit payment of their first instalment due on their 2022/23 Council Tax bill has been successfully paid.
Residents can set up their Direct Debit and read more information on the Council Tax Energy Rebate by visiting www.oldham.gov.uk/energyrebate
Households who are not eligible for the £150 payment may yet receive some support with their energy bills, as well as some on low incomes whose homes are in Council Tax bands E to H.
This comes as part of the government’s £144 million of discretionary funding which has been shared across the country for those who are not eligible for the Council Tax Rebate.
However, the council is still working through the details of how this will work and how it can issue support.
Cllr Jabbar MBE, continued: “We know there may be some households who are struggling and may slip through the net because they do not fall within the main eligibility criteria.
“However, we are working through the details of the Discretionary Fund so we can hopefully help as many people as we can during this cost-of-living crisis and we would urge you to keep an eye on our website for more updates if you do not currently qualify for a rebate.
“In the meantime, the council has other ways in which it can support you at this time, including the Council Tax Reduction scheme for those on low incomes.
“Similarly, we have a range of services that support you with your finances and other areas as part of our ‘We can Help’ campaign so I would urge anyone in this position to visit our website for more details.”
Residents can seek support through the council’s ‘We can Help’ campaign by visiting www.oldham.gov.uk/wecanhelp.