Background
Background

Decision details

Receipt and spend of grant for the Council Tax Energy Rebate 2022-23

Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

Subject of Decision:
(a) The receiving of a central government grant for £4,591,650 under the Council Tax Energy Rebate scheme with the consequential increase in the Council’s budget by that amount; and
(b) The approval and the distribution of the discretionary element of £140,400 referred to in (a) in accordance with the attached ‘Council Tax Energy Rebate Discretionary Policy Document’ and the delegation to the Council’s section 151 officer/Director of Financial Resources as set out in that policy.
Decisions (a) and (b) permitted by paragraph 4 of the Budget and Policy Framework Rules contained within chapter 7 of the Constitution which allows the Chief Executive or the Executive to make a decision not in accordance with approved budget where it is not practical to convene a quorate meeting of Council and the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee agrees that the matter is urgent.

Background Information:
1. The Government announced a package of support known as the Energy Bills Rebate to help households with rising energy bills. This includes:
• A £150 non-repayable rebate for households in council tax bands A to D, known as the Council Tax Rebate.
• A share of £144 million of discretionary funding for billing authorities to support households who are in need but are not eligible for the Council Tax Rebate, known as the Discretionary Fund.
2. Copeland received £4,591,650 in April 22. This is apportioned as follows:
• £4,451,250 to support those in council tax bands A-D with a £ 150 payment (core scheme)
• £140,400 discretionary fund
3. For the purpose of the Council Tax Rebate, a household is a person or a group of persons occupying a single dwelling, as defined in section 3 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
4. Eligibility is determined based on the position at the end of the day on 1 April 2022.
5. Payments should be provided directly from billing authorities to eligible households. Only one £150 payment should be made under the core Council Tax Rebate per household, regardless of the number of occupants or liable council taxpayers.
7. Where a council holds live direct debit instructions for a liable council taxpayer of an eligible household, automatic payments should be made as early as possible in the 2022-23 financial year.
8. Where a council does not hold live direct debit instructions for an eligible household, the government expects councils to contact households to invite them to make a claim. In order to retrieve the bank details, a secure online portal will be available from May 22.
10. All payments must be made by 30 September 2022 for the core scheme and 30 November 2022 for the discretionary scheme.
11. The Council Tax team is currently testing the software received to deliver the energy rebate payments and validating the data for those entitled to a payment. Payments to council taxpayers will commence from 13th May.

Discretionary Scheme
12. The government recognises that councils will want to support other council taxpayers who are not eligible under the core scheme, or to provide targeted top-up payments to those most vulnerable households in bands A-D.
11. Councils can determine locally how best to make use of the fund to support those suffering hardship as a result of the rising cost of living. A copy of Copeland Borough Council’s proposed discretionary scheme is attached.
13. The Guidance issued to local authorities is available via a link in the attached document.

Decision on Urgency:
Households are suffering as a result of the rising cost of living and any support needs to be provided quickly.
In view of the above I agree that the decision is urgent.
Authorised by email dated 16th May 2022 from Councillor John Kane, Chair, Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Reasons for the Decision:
It is necessary to deliver the Government’s response to the rising cost of living.

Others Consulted:
Section 151 Officer: The distribution of the relief and financial implications are set out in this Officer Decision Record.
Monitoring Officer: The discretionary element of the central government grant will be distributed in accordance with the attached policy.
Nicola Hartley 13/5/2022

Mayor's Approval:
I agree with the distribution of the relief as set out above and the attached policy document.
Authorised by email dated 16th May 2022 from Mike Starkie, Elected Mayor.

Approval:
I agree, and make the decisions as set out above to receive the grant and the distribution of it in accordance with the attached policy document.
Authorised by email dated 17th May 2022 from Pat Graham, Chief Executive.

Decision:

(a) To receive the central government grant of £4,591,650 under the Council Tax Energy Rebate scheme with the consequential increase in the Council’s budget by that amount; and
(b) To approve and distribute the grant referred to in (a) in accordance with the attached ‘Council Tax Energy Rebate Discretionary Policy Document’ and to delegate to the Council’s section 151 officer/Director of Financial Resources any decisions required to be made as set out in, and in accordance with, that policy.

Alternative options considered:

None

Publication date: 20/05/2022

Date of decision: 17/05/2022

 

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