Cost of paying out council tax rebate in Kirklees estimated at £200,000

Handing over millions of pounds in council tax rebates has been estimated to cost Kirklees Council more than £200,000 in staffing and software, according to Government figures.

By Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 16th May 2022, 10:30 am

Local authorities across the country have been tasked with paying out the £150 one-off rebate, which was announced in February by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to help with the cost of living crisis caused by huge hikes in energy bills.

In Kirklees a total of 160,909 households are eligible for the money, which does not have to be repaid.

Payments began earlier this month, with the council expecting to process around 10,000 rebates – equating to around £1.5m – every day.

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Huddersfield Town Hall

On April 29 in advance of the rebate roll-out, the Government paid £203,643 to Kirklees to cover “implementation costs”.

The cash is described as an initial down payment and is an on account payment that “reflects estimated software and staffing costs for the early stages of delivering the core council tax rebate scheme”.

Should Kirklees face a higher bill for its pay-outs – what the Government describes as “reasonable new burdens” – due to the scheme exceeding the down payment, then more money will be released.

However, if the down payment exceeds the assessment of total reasonable costs, then the difference must be repaid to Government.

The £150 rebate will be automatically paid into the bank account of households in band A-D properties that pay council tax by direct debit. People can expect to receive the money by May 23.

However, the 62,000 households that do not pay their council tax by direct debit will need to apply individually for the rebate via an energy rebate application form, which the council aims to make live “soon after” May 23.

The authority says it is currently working to make the process “as streamlined as possible”, enabling the rebate to be paid into people’s bank accounts within two weeks of a successful application.

The full amount to be paid in Kirklees is expected to exceed £14m.

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