Swindon Borough Council is encouraging residents who do not currently pay their council tax by direct debit to make the switch ahead of £150 payments being issued.

The Government recently announced that council tax payers in Bands A to D would receive a £150 payment to help with costs of living. Second homes or empty homes are not included in this payment scheme.

This payment will not be taken off council tax bills but will instead be given to eligible residents as a separate payment. This money does not need to be re-paid.

Due to the checks which are required and processes that need to be put in place, it is expected that these payments will be made towards the end of April at the earliest.

Currently in Swindon, around 75% of households pay their council tax via direct debit. For people who pay their council tax by direct debit, the rebate will go directly into their bank account.

Anyone who does not currently pay by direct debit may wish to make the switch so that they receive the payment as smoothly as possible. To switch to direct debits, Swindon residents should call 0345 302 2316 with their bank account details and Council Tax account number, or visit the Council’s website to download a form: www.swindon.gov.uk/info/20020/council_tax/253/pay_your_council_tax

Any eligible resident who has not switched to direct debits by the end of March 2022 will be contacted by the Council to arrange payment. Residents are being asked not to contact the Council to chase this payment at this time.

Councillor Tim Swinyard, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Levelling Up, Communities and Place, said: “We know that many households will be feeling the pinch due to the rising costs of living so we want to get these payments out to eligible households as quickly and as easily as possible. Switching to direct debits means the payments will come through automatically so please consider making the switch today if you haven’t already.

“When announcements like this are made by central government, we then have to consider how this will work best in practice for our local area and put the required processes and checks in place. With this in mind, I would urge residents who aren’t paying via direct debit to wait to be contacted about this payment as we will contact eligible residents about how to access this payment.

“There is also some further funding which has been made available to help support those who are not eligible for the main scheme. We are working through what this looks like in Swindon and will share details through our website as soon as possible.”

Anyone who is looking for advice or financial support can visit www.swindon.gov.uk and search ‘money matters’ to find out more about what help is available in Swindon.