Folkestone & Hythe district Cabinet members have agreed on the criteria for a new discretionary scheme using £302,100 funding from the government.

At present people living in properties in council tax bands A to D (and E if in receipt of Disability Band Reduction) are being given a one-off payment of £150 to help with the increasing cost of energy bills.

The Discretionary Energy Rebate Scheme means householders who fall outside this criteria as of 1 April 2022 could also get the £150 (from July at the earliest).

These are:

  • Those in bands E to H who are entitled to Council Tax Reduction.
  • Those in bands F to H who are entitled to Disability Band Reduction.
  • Those in bands E to H and who are exempt from council tax because they are students, under 18, or severely mentally impaired.
  • Those who are not liable for council tax, but responsible for paying energy bills (ie, tenants in houses of multiple occupation where the owner pays the council tax, but they pay for gas and/or electricity).

In the case of the last criteria, an application will have to be made to F&HDC, but in all other categories, the £150 will be automatically made to those who pay their council tax by Direct Debit. Those who don’t pay by DD will be contacted.

If there is any money left over, F&HDC will consider making a top-up payment to all households in band A to H in receipt of Council Tax Reduction. This will be split evenly amongst these low-income households once all other payments have been made.

The £302,100 must be fully spent by 30 November 2022, or returned to the government.

Cllr Tim Prater – Cabinet Member for Revenues, Benefits, Anti-Fraud and Corruption – said: “I am pleased we are able to further support our most vulnerable residents in these difficult times – all those who are on lower incomes, but for whatever reason, live in larger properties.

“This includes homes which have been adapted for those with disabilities, anyone who is entitled to a reduction in their council tax, and those who don’t pay council tax because they rent but pay their own fuel bills.”

Cllr David Monk – F&HDC Leader – said: “All officers will be going that extra mile in the coming weeks to ensure everyone who is eligible gets their money as soon as possible.”

Anyone who is on a low income, but is not in receipt of Council Tax Reduction can find out if more support is available to them by visiting: folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/council-tax/apply-for-council-tax-reduction

By Ed

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