No direct debit sees 97-year-old woman without council tax refund

A 97-year-old woman has said she was unable to get her £150 council tax refund from Camden Council because she did not have a direct debit, writes Harry Taylor.

Joan Wilson, a retired departmental secretary at the London School of Economics, said she doesn’t have a direct debit because she prefers to keep her money and pay for services as the bills come up.

However, that means she has not received the automatic £150 payment from the town hall, funded by the government to help tackle rising energy costs.

Direct debit payers had their refunds paid into their bank accounts last month, with council officials saying more than £5.9million has been paid out so far.

She said: ‘It’s not fair and there doesn’t seem to be any information being sent out about it. I’ve always paid, and always on time, but it seems I can’t figure out how I’ll get the £150 they talk about.

Ms Wilson has mobility issues and heart failure, but says she has friends she couldn’t get by without.

“I live on Finchley Road and without them I would be stuck. I can walk a bit but it tires me so much.

A spokesperson for Camden said people who do not get direct debits and are on council tax relief should have received a letter, with a code to take to the post office to get the money . Others must apply through an online advice system or by calling 020 7974 4444 to speak to council tax officers.

People must apply by August 1 to receive the money, otherwise it will be credited to their council tax account if they are eligible.