Delays of up to six months as council tax rebate scheme descends into chaos

North Tyneside council described the rebate scheme as a “significant challenge” and mentioned it hoped to make funds in May. However, it hinted that some folks may have to wait till the top of September.

Colchester mentioned it will make funds from subsequent month however warned that some residents could have to wait till September. A spokesman for the authority mentioned its software’s main perform was “collecting money, not giving it out”.

He mentioned: “Every native authority has had to design a course of that lists all eligible recipients and set up a method of paying them. They have to create their very own checking course of to keep away from paying the rebate greater than as soon as or to an ineligible family.

“Waiting for our software developer to give us a means of paying en masse gives us the best possibility of avoiding error, fraud and offering an easily accessible audit trail.”

Harlow Council instructed residents it wanted to perform exams on fee software earlier than it may difficulty rebates. Some 77 councils have to use software developed by the outsourcing agency Capita – but it surely was solely launched on April 19.   

Hastings Council has mentioned it won’t be making funds till after council tax payments in April are paid and an exterior agency has carried out “necessary audit checks” to minimise funds being despatched to the fallacious folks or fraudsters. 

Residents who don’t pay by way of direct debit face the longest waits as a result of they have to actively declare it again. Some councils are but to set up the portal to settle for requests. 

Authorities have come underneath hearth for failing to prepared the funds to coincide with the associated fee of dwelling crunch, particularly on condition that the scheme was introduced in the beginning of February.

Danielle Boxall, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, accused councils of “pointless bureaucratic busywork”. 

Shaun Davies of the Local Government Association, the physique for councils, mentioned councils had been appearing consistent with Government steerage, however conceded there can be delays. 

State guidelines permit native authorities to perform checks and withhold the payouts till September to defend towards fraud and abuse of the scheme. However, tips mentioned the grants ought to be paid as shut to April 1 as doable to present “immediate relief”. 

A authorities spokesman mentioned “many councils” had began issuing the rebates, and anticipated “the rest to begin payments shortly”. 

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