Sunak Swindle: 1.3 million households set to miss out on council tax rebate

  • 1.3 million eligible households forecast to miss out on £150 rebate to help with energy bills
  • Financial watchdog says ministers to rake in £195m from lack of take-up of scheme
  • Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey demands any household that missed out should get £150 cheque in the post

Around 1.3 million eligible families are set to miss out on the government’s £150 council tax rebate to help with soaring energy bills, it has emerged.

The damning figures are buried in the small print of a report by the government’s financial watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), accompanying this week’s Spring Statement.

It predicts that the Treasury is set to rake in £195 million from lack of take-up of the government’s flagship scheme. The OBR estimates that two-thirds of council tax payers use direct debit and therefore will automatically benefit.

It then estimates a take-up rate of 80% among those who don’t use direct debit. This leaves 20% of households who won’t benefit from the scheme.

The watchdog says this implies that around seven per cent of the total £2.9 billion of funding for the scheme will not be paid out to eligible households, amounting to savings of £195 million. That is equivalent to 1.3 million families missing out on the £150 per council tax rebate.

Those who pay council tax without using direct debit tend to be older and more deprived households, who will also be hardest hit by soaring energy bills. The Liberal Democrats are demanding that the government post a £150 cheque to each household that doesn’t pay council tax by direct debit, to ensure no-one missed out.

The OBR also looks at the impact of the £200 discount on energy bills being provided to households, which has to then be paid back via a £40 charge on energy bills over the next five years. It says this loan means over half of the support being provided to help families with soaring heating costs is being clawed back by the Treasury.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said: “It is staggering that over one million families are set to miss out because of this Conservative government’s half-baked plans. Often those who don’t pay council tax by direct debit are older and more deprived, meaning some of these households are likely to be among the most vulnerable in the country.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey

“People are facing sky-rocketing bills and plummeting living standards, but it looks like even the meagre support on offer from the Conservatives won’t reach those who need it most.

“Rishi Sunak must confirm that anyone that misses out on the rebate will get their £150 cheque in the post. No-one should go without the help they need because of this Conservative government’s incompetence.”

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