Thousands of pounds for investment in communities – [Cllr Katherine Bird]

The Coalition Government has published proposals to end the requirement for councils to offer a discount of between 10-50% on council tax if the home is not someone’s main residence.

In Test Valley it is estimated that last year, the council missed out on £55,000 because of discounts on second homes. These reforms will give councils thousands of pounds back to support services and investment in communities.

Additionally, the proposals go further to tackle the problem of long-term empty homes, which are a waste of housing. The reforms will give local authorities more freedom to tackle the problems of empty homes in their area.

Liberal Democrat Communities Minister, Andrew Stunell has announced that councils will be allowed councils to charge an Empty Homes Premium on council tax, of up to 50%, on any home left empty for two years or longer.

Commenting, Katherine Bird said:

“We have a real housing problem in our area, with young people unable to get on the property ladder because there aren’t enough houses available. Yet we have up to 285 second homes standing empty while their owners may live miles away.”

“Ending the mandatory discount will bring thousands of pounds back to our councils, something Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for. Councils will be able to use this money to support services and drive investment in our communities rather than helping those who can afford multiple homes.”

“Together with the reforms to tax long-term empty homes, these plans will help bring back scores of homes into use over the coming years, easing pressure on our housing stock.”

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