More than 18,000 households in Wrexham still waiting on £150 cost-of-living payment
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
More than 18,000 households in Wrexham are still waiting to receive a £150 payment aimed at helping people with the cost-of-living crisis.
In February, the Welsh Government announced a package of measures to assist with rising energy bills and other costs.
The one-off payment is open to households in Wales living in properties in council tax bands A-D, as well as recipients of the council tax reduction scheme.
Wrexham Council, which is responsible for distributing the support money, previously indicated everyone who pays their council tax by direct debit would automatically receive it by the end of May.
Meanwhile, those who pay by other methods were due to be contacted at the start of this month.
However, the Local Democracy Reporting Service can reveal that 18,200 households across Wrexham county borough have yet to receive their payment out of just over 42,000 which are believed to be eligible.
It compares to Flintshire where 42,160 individual payments of £150 have been made, which represents 90 per cent of eligible households.
A Wrexham Council spokesperson said it was working to process the remaining payments, and hopes to have dealt with 56 per cent of eligible cases by the end of the month.
They said: “The council has initially been prioritising the direct debit cases, as at 23 June, 91 per cent who pay by direct debit should have received payment, a further payment will hit customers bank accounts shortly, which will take this to 95 per cent by 27 June.
“The remaining cases which are being reviewed, around 1,200 in total, include cases where there are discrepancies between the name on mandate and council tax liability, or other queries which are having to be reviewed before payment or in cases where they have recently moved onto direct debit.
“The intention is that a further file of payments will be issued early next week, along with any payments which have been returned by bank.
“There are a number of cases, around 17,000 who don’t pay by direct debit, or cases where we cannot use the bank details due to these potentially not being used for several years.”
The council said 88 per cent of direct debit payments were dealt with by the end of May, with the rest due to be given out by the end of this month.
It said the launch of web portal for those who don’t pay via direct debit had been “slightly delayed”, with a letter due to go out to households over the next few weeks.
The authority has also updated its website to reflect the latest situation.
In contrast, Flintshire Council has already dealt with the significant majority of payments.
A spokesperson said: “Extensive work has already been undertaken to implement the cost-of-living main scheme and 42,160 individual payments of £150 have already been made to eligible households.
“This equates to a total funding distribution of £6.32m and a take-up rate of 90 per cent for eligible households.
“The main scheme remains open for applications up to 30th September 2022 and where we do not hold the bank account details to carry out an automated payment, we continue to promote applications and encourage eligible residents to apply using the simple registration form which is available on the council’s website at www.flintshire.gov.uk/col”
The Welsh Government was asked whether councils had been set a date for payments to be made and if it was aware of the delays in Wrexham.
A spokesperson said: “Across Wales, 73 per cent of the planned cost-of-living support payments had been paid to householders by the end of last week.
“The £152m scheme is being delivered at pace by local authorities on behalf of the Welsh Government.
“All households in properties in council tax bands A to D will receive the £150 payment, as will all households who receive support through our national council tax reduction scheme, regardless of their council tax band.
“This goes beyond the support being made available to households in England.
“Payments are being made as a single payment directly into people’s bank accounts where the local authority holds that information.
“Where this information is not held, eligible households will need to complete a simple registration form.
“Local authorities will contact all eligible households to ask for the necessary details.”
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