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Labour MP suspects some landlords may keep energy rebate

The Labour MP Dame Meg Hillier is warning that some landlords of HMOs may receive the government’s financial energy assistance- and not pass it on to tenants.

Every household is to get a one-off repayable £200 discount on energy bills in October and a rebate on council tax.

Hillier, who is MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, tells The Guardian: “I have a lot of HMOs in my constituency. If the landlord pays [the council tax], do they then take it off the tenants’ rent?


“[The government is] using the council tax account as a way of getting money to people, so if you’re not paying council tax directly or don’t have an account, presumably you are not getting any money.”



Hillier tells the paper that the government package was not “going to touch the sides” for struggling households. “People will still be having to make hard choices.” 

They were already shopping around to save money on a pint of milk, she said: “If that is the margin you are working on, £150 off a near £700 rise in energy bills is not going to cut it.”

The suspicion that some landlords could pocket the energy rebate is strikingly similar to a campaign promotes by activists in Generation Rent, who have also criticised the government’s financial assistance package. 

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  • Suzy OShea

    Two points here. The energy rebate of £200 is repayable to the government at a future point. Therefore why should it be passed on to tenants who are paying rent which includes both council tax and utilities.

    If the landlord has to raise the rents for existing tenants to cover the shortfall of their original monthly utilities allowance, then the £150 council tax rebate can be taken into account against any rise to cover the utilities. But there is no reason to do this with the energy loan of £200. Because by the time the government comes to recover that loan, these tenants may well have moved on. Even if they have not, they won't take kindly to the landlord trying to claw back any loans by raising their rents mid-term.

    I wish the MP Meg Hillier would think through this situation before pronouncing on it.

  • George Dawes

    Mps judging other people by their own low standards

  • icon

    I'm a bit unclear how both the Council Tax rebate and £200 loan will work in practice for HMOs.
    If it's working tenants and Council Tax and utilities are included in the rent am I right in thinking both CT rebate and loan go to the landlord and may go a very small way to offset the additional utility costs we have been paying since loads of utility companies went bust last autumn, never mind the massive hike we are about to experience in April? The £200 loan won't happen until October (more than a year after our utility costs soared). We then have to repay the £200 loan at £40 a year added to our electric bill for the next 5 years?

    How is it going to work for student houses which are Council Tax exempt?
    How does the loan work when students pay their own utility bills? Is the loan to the bill payer or attached to the house? Will future occupiers of the house have to repay a loan they didn't benefit from?
    Why is the loan attached to the electric bill when people seem to be more concerned about heating?
    What happens if the landlord includes gas but not electric?

  • icon

    Students are now up in arms because they won't get £150 refunded from Council Tax - which they don't pay in any case.

    They seem to think every other individual is getting a £150 handout and not actually only one payment per household and only for smaller homes in bands A to D, which have smaller energy bills than those with larger homes who qualify for nothing.

    Perhaps they should be asking their parents to share their handout with them? Why should other tax payers, especially those getting nothing, be asked to shell out for students who are supposed to be investing in a better future for themselves?


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