Post office voucher plan for government £150 energy payment scheme – Coventry City Council

Homes in Coventry who haven’t yet received government payments to help with rising energy costs will receive Post Office vouchers to be sent out by letter from the Council.

People living in Coventry homes in council tax bands A to D, who are entitled to the payment and pay Council Tax by Direct Debit, have already received the £150 council tax energy rebate as part of the Government scheme – administered by Coventry City Council.

The money is a one-off payment and does not need to be paid back.

Of 140,000 households receiving payments around 53,000 are not on a Direct Debit payment system for Council Tax and will receive the Post Office vouchers from the Council in the post.

The Council is taking this approach to get the cash to people as quickly as possible and without the need for people to make any online claims.

The Council was concerned that requiring an online claim would disadvantage large numbers of residents who are not able to easily access online services.

Sending out the Post Office redemption tokens ensures the payments are inclusive and get to everyone quickly.

The £150 payment will be made to the person who is liable for Council Tax.

Barrie Strain, Head of Revenues and Benefits at the Council, said:

“The vast majority of households who pay council tax via Direct Debit have had the £150 payment made in the past few days. Because we already have relevant details these have been made automatically into bank accounts.

“We initially planned to run an online application process for those people who don’t pay by direct debit, but the Council will instead issue a Post Office payment token to households in the post.

“We hope this way more vulnerable people will feel that the process is a lot simpler and quicker. This is a one-off payment and residents do not need to pay it back.

“Any household who has yet to receive a payment will receive a letter from the Council containing details of how to redeem the token. Residents can take that letter to any post office branch and receive the cash straight away.”

He added:

“Residents can also choose to pay the cash straight into their bank account if they take their bank details with them to the post office.”

The tokens will be valid for two months. Anyone who hasn’t redeemed the token after this time will have the £150 energy rebate credited to their Council Tax account so that no one misses out on the support.

The Council is working with the Post Office to get this process set up quickly and we expect to issue the letters to households in mid-May.

The Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) announced the ‘Council Tax Energy Rebate’ scheme in February which all Councils are required to administer.

This affects 140,000 properties in Coventry making up 94 per cent of the city’s domestic properties.

Although the payment is made to the person holding the council tax accounts, residents should still continue to make council tax payments as normal.

The rebate is to support households with the rising cost of energy, and everyone entitled to the payment will receive it.

About the Coventry scheme:

  1. Those who pay their council tax by direct debit are receiving the payment to their bank account, providing that the name on the account matches the liable party for council tax purposes;
  2. Those who do not pay by direct debit will now receive a Post Office payment token in the post.

Approximately 87,000 households pay by direct debit in Coventry. This leaves 53,000 households who will receive the energy rebate in the form of post office vouchers.

The Council will be deploying considerable resources to work through the applications as quickly as possible whilst ensuring processes are robust and mitigate the risk of fraud or error. Senior officers are stressing that people do not need to get in touch with the Council as everyone who is entitled to the £150 energy rebate will receive it.

The Council is accurately validating contact names and bank details to avoid any errors. That’s why the process has started with Direct Debit accounts.

Residents are being encouraged not to contact the Council.

Details are also explained on the Council’s website.

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