Issue - meetings
Discretionary Energy Rebate Scheme
The Director of Finance and Business Improvement introduced the report and explained the difference between the mandatory and discretionary energy rebate schemes applicable to Council Tax. The Council had been given £396,300 to distribute to those individuals that were not eligible for a payment under the former and targeted top up payments to the most vulnerable households in bands A-D.
Reference was made to the tables shown at points 2.5 and 2.7 of the report, which outlined the proposed scheme and its associated financial impacts. Initial payments would be made to those in receipt of Council Tax Support (CTS) across Bands E-H and those in receipt of a disabled band reduction across Bands F-H. The remaining funds would be allocated to provide £30 each to those in Bands A-D in receipt of CTS.
The context of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis was highlighted, with the Council’s other actions to provide support noted.
In response to questions, the Director of Finance and Business Improvement confirmed that the funding had to be distributed by 30 September 2022 and would be applicable to those residents that lived in the borough on 1 April 2022.
The Committee expressed support for the proposal but felt that further information on other types of support should be provided to recipients in managing the cost-of-living crisis. This included energy saving measures that could reduce the amount spent on utilities and contribute to Biodiversity and Climate Change ambitions to reduce carbon emissions. The Chief Executive confirmed that the Council was working co-operatively with its partners to disseminate similar information through various channels.
The Director of Finance and Business Improvement confirmed that an individual’s council tax account would be credited with the financial award if they were eligible but unable to be contacted. It was requested that the Scheme attached at Appendix A to the report be amended to reflect that no cash payment would be made in such cases.
The Council would receive ‘New Burdens’ funding to support the scheme’s administration however the amount to be received was currently unknown.
1. The distribution methodology for the Discretionary Energy Rebates Scheme set out in paragraph 2.7 of the report, be agreed;
2. The Scheme’s details as set out in Appendix A to the report, subject to the insertion of the word ‘cash’ in point 4.8 to read:
In all cases, the Council must ensure that payments are made correctly and where appropriate, require households to verify that they are eligible for the payment. Where no such verification can be made or where a household fails to respond to the Council’s request, no cash payment whatsoever shall be made’.
3. The Committee requests that the opportunity of correspondence with recipients is used to suggest energy saving measures and further signpost them to other schemes.