Thousands in West Northamptonshire will miss out on Chancellor's £150 council tax rebate to help with soaring fuel bills

Critics say government cash will not reach those who need it most with one-in-five in area not eligible

By Kevin Nicholls
Friday, 11th February 2022, 7:34 pm
Updated Friday, 11th February 2022, 7:36 pm

More than one in five West Northamptonshire households do NOT qualify for a council tax rebate aimed at helping people cope with rocketing energy bills.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced £150 of government cash for homes in the lowest four council tax bands.

But critics say property values from more than 30 years ago will decide who gets the money among West Northants' 178,668 households rather than who needs it most.

Around 36,000 homes in West Northamptonshire will not qualify for the Chancellor's council tax rebate

The rebate will given out with council tax bills and does not need to be repaid — unlike the £200 energy bill discount announced at the same time.

Government data shows 139,017 homes in West Northamptonshire of which 80.2 percent, are in band A to D.

But the remaining 20.8 percent — just over 36,500 — will not qualify and need to apply for a share of a separate £144 million discretionary fund.

Those can include all-student households which are disregarded for council tax and low-income families where their property is in bands E to H.

Think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research believes more than two million of the UK's poorest people will miss out on the automatic help.

IPPR senior economist Henry Parkes said: "Support should be distributed on the basis of need and incomes through universal credit, not historic house valuations which may not relate to the financial circumstances households actually face, leaving them reliant on a discretionary scheme for support which could be overwhelmed."

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told the House of Commons that the scheme 'will mean that many of the poorest households receive no extra support, while some of the richest do.'

Labour instead called for an extension to the existing Warm Homes Discount scheme to include more lower-income households.

Council tax bands are based on the value of a property according to 1991 prices.

Anything up to a Band D property would have sold for £88,000 or less 31 years ago. Extended properties may be moved into a higher band when it next changes hands.

On the same day as Chancellor Sunak's announcement, Ofgem revealed average energy bills will rise by nearly £700 per year from April.