A Kent council has apologized after it accidentally took £150 from residents’ bank accounts instead of paying the amount as a rebate on the energy bill.
Municipal tax refunds worth £150 have started to trickle into the bank accounts of thousands of households across the country.
The money comes from the government and is intended to help people in municipal tax brackets A through D with the cost of rising energy bills.
But Swale Borough Council in north Kent took £150 from some taxpayers’ bank accounts instead of paying it, Kent Live Reports.
The board has since decided to correct the error by crediting these accounts.
But that only corrected the accidental deduction, so a new payment must be made.
It could take “a few days” to show up in people’s accounts, the council said.
This means that some people worry about being overdrawn or being hit with bank charges.
The council said: “Those eligible for government energy rebate payments will see both a debit and a credit to their bank account today due to an error processing scheduled payments.
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“We are deeply sorry this has happened, and we have been working to rectify the situation and ensure people’s accounts are in a neutral position.
“If you are concerned, please check with your bank to confirm that a debit and credit has been made to your account.
Swale Borough Council has been approached for comment.
Who is eligible for the £150 council tax refund?
Council tax rebate will apply to homes in tax brackets A, B, C or D in England and Wales – around 80% of properties – but not to those living in the taxation E, F, G and H (or I as well, in Wales).
Scottish residents will also be eligible for a £150 reduction if they are in bands A to D – but are also eligible if they are also in receipt of a council tax reduction.
Those in groups other than A to D may be able to get a boost in the form of a discretionary payment instead.
If you are eligible, the money will not need to be refunded and will be issued directly by councils from April.
For those paying by direct debit, the councils will use the details they have for you in their system to send the money directly to your bank account.
If you are not paying by direct debit, councils should invite you to lodge a complaint and ask for your account details so that they can process the payment.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has urged households to beware of scammers trying to steal your details, and said councils will never ask for bank details over the phone.
Counsel should contact you in writing to ask for your contact details.