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Should local empty homes pay more tax?

Created on 16/09/2020 @ 21:56
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A consultation will be held to see if people support increasing Council Tax payments on holiday homes and properties that have been empty for a long time.

The decision was made at a meeting of Powys County Council’s (PCC) Cabinet.

It is thought that increasing the amount owners have to pay will be an incentive for these properties to be used.

If the consultation is favourable, PCC will have an option to double the council tax bill on them.

Portfolio holder for Finance, Cllr Aled Davies, said: “It’s important that we try and get as many empty properties as we can into the system, there’s always pressures on residents not being able to find suitable housing.

“The more we can do to help the better.”

Cllr Davies explained that in 2016 the previous administration had brought in a council tax premium that added and extra 50 per cent on top of the Council Tax bill for these properties.

The data showed that nearly 200 properties had come into use the following year, but since then the figures have gradually gone up.

Cllr Davies: “We have a significant number of empty properties and we will run a consultation on the possibility of increasing the premium charged on those houses.”

Portfolio holder for Housing, Cllr James Evans, (Gwernyfed – Conservative) added: “We have a homeless crisis and we have a number of people across the county that are in temporary accommodation.

“We need to get them in to suitable housing.”

But Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, was concerned that this could affect farming families.

She explained that if the head of the family died, the family homestead could be empty for a few years, before a child was able to move in.

This change could force families to sell their traditional home.

Portfolio holder for Adult Social Services, Cllr Alexander, said: “I do have a concern that when these properties do come on the open market, I’m afraid they are not bought by local people, they will be second home owners or down-shifters.”

Cllr Alexander wanted to see the Farming Unions asked for their views on the consultation.

Cllr Davies, told the meeting: “That’s precisely why we will run this consultation, to tease out these issues.”

The decision to holding a consultation was voted though unanimously.

The number of long term empty properties in Powys is:

April 2017 – 1,060
April 2018 – 862
April 2019 – 990
April 2020 – 996


By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporting Service




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