Thousands of people in Preston, Chorley and South Ribble are urged not to miss the £150 discount

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Thousands of households across Preston, Chorley and South Ribble are being urged to make sure they don’t miss a council tax refund next month.

The government announced earlier this year that people living in properties in AD municipal tax brackets would receive £150 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 tackle soaring energy costs.

Eligible residents who pay their council tax by direct debit will automatically have the money credited to their bank accounts in April. A significant number of people in Central Lancashire pay their bill by other means – and will therefore either need to set up a direct debit if they are able to do so, or complete a separate application in order to receive payment.

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In Preston, around 38% of households – around 15,000 properties – do not currently use direct debit to pay council tax. In Chorley there are around 12,900 non-payers specifically in the AD bands, while in South Ribble the figure is around 9,900.

Preston City Council is encouraging people to set up direct debits to receive the £150 discount in the easiest and fastest way possible.

The authority said earlier this month it would establish a separate process for those without direct debit – and those who are council tax exempt – but warned the system would take time to put in place due to verification requirements and said payments to people in this position may take longer to process.

Martyn Rawlinson, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “Anyone paying by direct debit will receive the £150 payment direct to their bank account. For those who have not set up direct debit, this could delay the payment process. I urge them to put this in place as soon as possible via the council’s website.

‘This is an easy, safe and secure way to pay your council tax and the fastest way to receive the refund,’ added Cllr Rawlinson.

Meanwhile, Chorley and South Ribble Borough Councils said direct debit payers in both districts will be contacted directly and asked to complete a claim for reimbursement. However, if they fail to do so, the authorities will not be able to verify the necessary details and the owners will not receive the money.

The Ministry of Planning, Housing and Communities has also urged households to introduce local tax levies which it describes as “a safe, simple and quick way to pay [and] will see the money paid directly into their bank accounts from April.

“Those who do not pay by direct debit will be contacted by their municipality and invited to make a complaint,” adds the department’s website.

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