Around 5.2 million households in England will not qualify for a new £150 council tax rebate designed to help people through the ongoing energy crisis, exclusive analysis shows.
These ineligible households will be left to fight over a £144 million fund being handed out via local councils - amounting to the equivalent of £28 each.
Those living in areas with higher house prices are the least likely to qualify, as the council tax rebate prioritises lower and mid-value homes.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the scheme on February 3rd, the same day that the government’s energy regulator Ofgem revealed that the average energy bill would increase by nearly £700 per year from April, a rise of around 54%.
In the Liverpool City Region, 97,050 of the 727,399 total number of homes in area will not qualify for the rebate.
Disregarding second homes and empty homes, the figure comes in at 77,054 of 707,408 homes, meaning that just under 11% of all occupied households in the region will miss out on the scheme.
Liverpool city councillor Gerald Woodhouse condemned the energy price hikes, saying: “There are going to be deaths as a result of this, it’s just unbelievable.”
What measures have the government announced to help?
The £150 council tax rebate is one of three measures announced by the Chancellor to help households with the rise in energy bills.
The other measures include the £150 million fund designated for local authorities, such as the six boroughs of the LCR, to help lower-income households.
And a £200 ‘discount’ on all electricity bills from October, which must be paid back by households at a later date.
Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves suggested the £200 loan discount was nothing more than a “buy now pay later scheme that loads up costs for tomorrow” and said Sunak should have scrapped VAT on energy bills instead.
How council tax rebate affects Liverpool City Region boroughs
The six council boroughs of the region will be affected in varying degrees depending on the number of homes in the eligible council tax bands.
These figures exclude second homes and empty homes.
Sefton has the highest ratio of homes that are ineligible for the rebate at 14.2% - with 17,788 of the 125,478 homes in the borough missing out.
Wirral is next on the list with 12.5% ineligible - that’s 18,285 of the 146,662 missing out.
Halton will see 11.1% of homes miss out - with 6,384 of 57,573 homes ineligible.
Liverpool hasthe highest total number of homes to miss out at 23,183, but with 225,896 in the borough that’s 10.3%.
St Helens has 9.2% of homes ineligible, with 7,626 of 83,160 homes in the borough missing out.
Knowsley has the highest percentage of homes that can claim the council tax rebate with just 5.5% missing out, but that is still 3,787 of the 68,639 homes in the borough.
Who is ineligible?
Among those who are ineligible for the council tax rebate are second homes, empty homes, and those households which fall into the council tax bracket bands E-H.
Reactions to the energy rises and the rebate
Alongside those voices on the national stage, such as Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves who have criticised the scheme, local leaders and voices have also spoken out against the initiative.
Liverpool city Councillor Gerald Woodhouse said: “I doubt any of those MPs in their ivory towers have had to use a key and put money on their electric.
“Everyone’s had a really bad two years and this just adds to it.
“Vulnerable people won’t be able to manage, people are in enough debt and the fact that it [the £200 ‘discount’] is a loan will increase that.
“I know there’s families who have to send their children to bed at 6pm to save on heating.”