This is what residents in Preston, Chorley and South Ribble need to do to get their £150 council tax rebate
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The government announced earlier this year that people living in properties in council tax bands A-D would be given £150 back from their bills for the 2022/23 financial year.
The move was part of a package put in place by the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to help with soaring energy costs.
Eligible residents who pay their council tax by direct debit will be automatically credited with the cash into their bank accounts in April.
However, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) has learned that a significant number of people across Central Lancashire settle their bill in other ways - and so will either have to set up a direct debit if they are able to do so or complete a separate application in order to receive the payment.
In Preston, around 38 percent of households - approximately 15,000 properties - do not currently use direct debit to pay their council tax.
Preston City Council is encouraging people to set up direct debits in order to receive the £150 rebate in the simplest and quickest way possible.
The authority told the LDRS earlier this month that it would be establishing a separate process for those without a direct debit - and those who are exempt from council tax - but warned that the system would take time to set up due to verification requirements and said that payments to people in that position could take longer to process.
Cabinet member for finance Martyn Rawlinson said: “Anyone paying by direct debit will receive the £150 payment directly into their bank account.
“For those who don't have a direct debit set up, this could cause a delay to the payment process. I'd urge them to set this up as soon as possible via the council's website.
“This is an easy, safe and secure way to pay your council tax and the quickest way to receive the rebate,” Cllr Rawlinson added.
Meanwhile, Chorley and South Ribble borough councils told the LDRS that non-direct debit council tax payers in the two districts will be contacted directly and asked to complete an application for their rebates.
However, if they do not do so, the authorities will be unable to verify the necessary details and the householders will not receive the cash.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has also urged households to set up council tax direct debits which it describes as “a safe, simple and quick way to pay [and] will see the cash go directly into their bank accounts from April”.
“Those who do not pay by direct debit will be contacted by their council and invited to make a claim,” the department’s website adds.