Decision Maker: Revenue, Benefits & Fraud Manager
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
On 3 February 2022 the government announced a
package of support known as the Energy Bills Rebate to help
households with rising energy bills for 2022/23. This included
£144 million in discretionary funding for billing authorities
to support households who are in need but are not eligible for the
core Council Tax Energy Rebate Scheme. Teignbridge has been
allocated £273,300 for the discretionary element of the
The purpose of this funding is to provide support to other energy bill payers who are not eligible under the terms of the core scheme, or to provide carefully targeted ‘top-up’ payments to the most vulnerable households in bands A to D. The Government expects that all support from the Discretionary Fund is targeted towards those most likely to be suffering hardship as a result of the rising cost of living.
The methodology for determining funding levels was based 50% on shares of the index of multiple deprivation and 4% based on shares of the estimated number of local council tax support claimants in Bands E-H.
Councils can determine locally how best to make use of this funding to support those suffering financial hardship as a result of the rising cost of living. This could include households living in property valued in bands E to H that are on income related benefits or those where the energy bill payers are not liable for council tax. Where councils consider it the best means of supporting those in financial difficulty, they can use the discretionary fund to offer carefully targeted ‘top-up’ payments to the most vulnerable households in bands A to D (for example, those on means tested benefits), or to offer discretionary support exceeding £150 per household.
In order to align with the Government stated intentions for this funding which is to provide support to low income households including those who were ineligible under the core scheme the Teignbridge scheme will provide support as follows:
•Households in Bands E-H in receipt of Council Tax Reduction – a single one off payment of £150
Rationale: the Government made assumptions in the core fund that households residing in lower banded properties were more likely to have lower incomes than those residing in the upper banding levels hence the mandatory allocation of £150 to each household in bands A-D. The methodology used for determining funding for the discretionary scheme included estimates for numbers of households in Band E- H in receipt of Council Tax Reduction (CTR). Entitlement to CTR is evidence of low income and therefore it is reasonable to treat residents in bands E-H on CTR in the same way as households in Bands A-D and award an equivalent £150 payment.
•Houses in Multiple Occupation
If you live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO), a hostel, or have a long-term rental agreement and the cost of council tax is included in your rent but you are responsible for your own energy bills, every person living in the property can apply for £50 each. This amount may be uplifted to £150 where this would appear reasonable in all the circumstances and where there is evidence of energy arrears on 1st July 2022.
Rationale: Government guidance suggests that councils may wish to provide support to occupiers of HMO’s as they were excluded from the core scheme for the reason that they are not the liable party for council tax purposes. Typically occupants have an allocated bedroom and share communal kitchen and/or bathroom facilities. Where occupants are liable to pay their own energy bills it is reasonable to provide financial support to help cover their increased costs. In recognition that the energy bills payable will typically be lower for a bedsit than a chargeable dwelling in band A-D It is reasonable to set support at a lower level. The amount awarded will be £50.00 per unit of accommodation with potential uplift to £150.00.
•Targeted top-up to households in Bands A-H in receipt of maximum Council Tax Reduction
Rationale: The Government expects that all support from the Discretionary Fund is to be targeted towards those most likely to be suffering hardship as a result of the rising cost of living. Typically, households who receive 100% reduction, will be low income, vulnerable households in need of additional support to help deal with these rising costs. These residents will typically be in receipt of legacy and income related benefits whose incomes are deemed by central government to reflect levels of the most basic living needs. These residents will be amongst the poorest in Teignbridge and at highest risk of suffering financial hardship as energy bills rise.
This decision was made in consultation with the Executive Member for Corporate Resources and S151 Officer
Consideration was given to designing a
means-tested approach whereby applications would be considered on
their merits but in view of the tight timescales within which the
scheme is to be delivered and the fact that our CTR scheme is
income-based and therefore identifies those households in greatest
financial need we have decided to adopt a formula-based approach.
Anyone requiring support who is not served by the formula approach
will be referred to the Household Support Fund for help with
household-related bills including energy.
Publication date: 05/08/2022
Date of decision: 15/07/2022