THE city council is calling on Leicester residents to set up direct debit payments to pay their council tax, to reduce delay in them receiving Government support of £150 to help with rising energy costs.
Most households in council tax bands A-D will be eligible for the one-off payment.
The council will be able to pay the money to people who pay their council tax by direct debit as it has their bank details. However around 70,000 city households don’t pay their tax this way.
The Government says these households will need to claim the payment. It will not allow the council to deduct the £150 from their council tax bills unless they request this.
This means the council’s finance team is having to set up a new system to enable these households to either provide their bank details and claim the £150, or ask for their council tax bill to be reduced.
Each claim will have to be individually checked and processed, which will inevitably delay the payments being made. If these households don’t claim by September, they will miss out on the money.
The council is also concerned that with the energy bill support funding allocated to council tax payers, some landlords who pay their tenants’ tax but don’t pay their energy bills, will benefit from the support and not the people who need it.
Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “Any support the Government can give to help people with this cost of living crisis is of course welcomed. However, not enough thought has been given as to whether the funds will reach those all of those who really need them, and how councils will be able process these payments.
“Our finance team is already dealing with hundreds of applications for the household support grant and the new omicron business grant. Officers are now also devising a system to enable this new funding to be given to everyone entitled to it, including those people who don’t have a bank account at all.
“I would urge everyone who does have a bank account to sign up online before the end of March to pay their council tax by direct debit, as this will enable them to make the payment to you much more quickly.”
City residents can find out more about the Government's £150 payment, and sign up to pay by direct debit on the council’s website here: https://bit.ly/3hUoJEu
Leicester has more than 140,000 properties on its council tax list, of which 95% are in bands A-D. The city council does not have bank account details for around 70,000 of these.