thousands of households may lack support to ease the cost of living crisis as councils fail to pay back their energy bills.
Britons face the biggest squeeze in living standards in 30 years as bills soar and inflation soars.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a support package revealing that millions of households across the UK will receive rebates on their energy bills totaling £350 to help cope with soaring costs.
There will be a refundable £200 discount on bills from October and a further £150 council tax discount for most households in England “in April”, according to the guidelines.
However, an investigation by Radio 4’s Money Box found that many councils had failed to make the £150 payment.
Also, the wording of the payment date in the guidelines has changed from “in April” to “from April”.
The council tax rebate will apply to all households in England who are in council tax brackets A, B, C or D – the government says this covers around 80 per cent of all households or about 15 million households.
“Many councils have already started paying the rebate and we expect the others to start paying shortly,” the Leveling Up department told the BBC in a statement.
“The £150 council tax rebate will help millions of people with the rising cost of living, and we’ve provided an additional £144 million to councils to provide support for any household in need, no matter what. regardless of the council’s tax bracket,” he added.
The Local Government Association, which represents the councils, suggested that anti-fraud checks and new software have caused delays in processing payments.
A UK Treasury spokesperson said: “We have always been clear, including in our press notice and the leaflet which has been sent to millions of households, that the £150 council tax refund for help with the cost of living would be paid” from “April.
“All local authorities have received their grant from the government to issue payments to households in the AD bands – and the Department of Levelling, Housing and Communities is working at the pace of local authorities to distribute this money as quickly as possible”
For those paying by direct debit, councils will use bank details to credit their account with a one-time payment of £150.
If you do not pay by direct debit, the councils will handle complaints.
Some households may benefit from a reduction, while others do not have to pay council tax.
Students and some pension credit claimants are completely exempt from paying.
Meanwhile, singles are entitled to 25% off their bill, while an adult living with a student can get 50% off.