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Discretionary Tax Energy Rebate Scheme Policy 2022- 23

Annual billing

Our Revenues and Benefits Systems and online services will be unavailable from Thursday, 22 February until Tuesday, 27 February to allow us to assess and produce the Annual Council Tax and Business Rates bills for 2024-2025.

The government has announced a package of support to help households with rising energy bills. This is known as the Energy Bills Rebate and is worth £9.1b in 2022-2023. It includes:

  • a discount on their energy bills this autumn for domestic electricity
  • a £150 non-repayable rebate for households in England in council tax bands A-D known as the Council Tax Energy Rebate
  • £144m discretionary funding for billing authorities to support households who are in need, but not eligible for Council Tax Rebate, known as the Discretionary Fund

Funding for the Discretionary Fund will be allocated to billing authorities calculated on a government methodology. The Discretionary Fund must be spent by 30 November 2022, any unused funds after the 30 November 2022 will be returned to central government.

West Northamptonshire Council has been allocated discretionary funding of £701,550 and has been asked by central Government to determine locally how best to use this funding to provide support to the most vulnerable residents within West Northamptonshire who are energy bill payers.

Whilst the Discretionary Fund does not have to be based on the Council Tax position as of 1 April 2022, the council will take all reasonable steps to ensure that additional support is not given to those households which have already received a payment under the mandatory Council Tax Energy Rebate Scheme.

Payments under the discretionary scheme will be no more than £150 per household.

The Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme has been updated to disregard any payments made under the Council Tax Energy Rebate scheme or the discretionary scheme.

Payments made under the Council Tax Energy Rebate or discretionary schemes will not be considered in the assessment of any income related benefits and will be disregarded for Universal Credit purposes. All payments made under the Council Tax Energy Rebate or discretionary schemes are non-taxable.

Eligibility criteria

Basic eligibility

The Council has decided that payments will be made provided that.

  • the household has their sole or main residence in a dwelling and is liable for Council Tax on 1 April 2022 and
  • the Council Tax liable person is not a local authority, a corporate body or other body such as a housing association, the Government, or a government body

Awards to be made

Group one - A single payment of £150 to households in receipt of the following:

  • Local Council Tax Reduction in Council Tax bands E to H
  • Carer discount disregards in Council Tax bands E to H
  • A dwelling which is part of a single property containing at least one other dwelling (for example a granny annexe) and that is the main home of a dependant relative of a person resident in that other dwelling in Council Tax bands E to H
  • Severely Mentally Impaired disregard or exemption in Council Tax bands E to H
  • Disabled Band Reduction in Council Tax bands F to H

Group two - A single payment of £120 to households in receipt of the following:

  • Single person discount in Council Tax bands E to H
  • Student, student nurse, apprentice, or youth training trainees disregard in Council Tax bands E to H
  • Child benefit or school leaver disregard in Council bands E to H

There will only be one award per eligible household from Group one or Group two (whichever is the highest).

Should any discretionary funding remain unspent following delivery of the discretionary scheme the council reserves the right to distribute funding at its discretion to help those residents most in need of support.

Effective date

The effective date for this scheme is 1 April 2022. The Council will determine eligibility based on the position at the end of that day. We have identified eligible residents and the rebate will be credited to their respective council tax account by the 30 November 2022. There will be no application process as a result.

Exclusions

The following households are excluded from the scheme:

  • a property that is not a person’s sole or main residence
  • a property that is deemed to be a second home for Council Tax purposes
  • an unoccupied property for the purposes of Council Tax
  • any households not including in groups one or two above

Changes to liability of Council Tax Band

Where the council has reason to believe that the information held about the valuation list, liable taxpayers or residents is inaccurate, payment will be withheld until the correct information is determined.

Where records relating to the liable taxpayer or residents’ circumstances are retrospectively updated, the council will take reasonable steps to either pay the discretionary award or potentially reclaim any payment made.

In any cases where the Council Tax band is amended retrospectively after 1 April 2022, for example following an appeal, the council is not required to either pay a discretionary award or reclaim any payment made.

How the Council Tax Energy Rebate will be paid

Where the council determines that all eligibility criteria is met in full, payment will be made to the household by crediting their Council Tax account. Only one discretionary payment will be made per household regardless of the number of occupants or council taxpayers.

Grant payments

As previously stated, the council has received a limited funding allocation for the Discretionary Scheme, as such payments will be made at a maximum of £150. Once all grant funding has been allocated the scheme will close.

If it is established that any payment has been made incorrectly due to an error, misrepresentation or incorrect information provided to the council, the council will look to recover the amount in full.

Review of decisions

The council will operate an internal review process. All requests for a review should be made in writing or by email and should state the reasons why the taxpayer is requesting the review. New information may be submitted at this stage.

The decision will be reviewed by a senior officer as soon as practicable, and the taxpayer will be informed in writing or by email of the decision.

Appeals process

  • There is no right to appeal, and the decision of the council is final
  • The Council’s interpretation of this document is at its own discretion

Data protection

  • The council treats all information that it holds on file with the utmost care and confidentiality. For more on our privacy policies and to see how we use and share your data, please see our website.

Right to update this Policy

The council reserves the right to update and change this policy without notification or warning in the event that the government updates or changes its guidance to us or in the event of an error or omission.

Last updated 28 December 2023