Council Tax increase for long term empty properties and second homes
Anglesey’s Executive yesterday (Tuesday, March 1st) backed the introduction of a 25% Council Tax premium on long term empty properties and second homes.
Council figures show that there are currently 784 long term empty properties on Anglesey with 35% empty for more than four years. There are also 2,311 second homes on the Island.
New powers introduced by the Welsh Government can allow the County Council (as billing authority) to increase Council Tax on these properties by 100% from April 1st 2017.
However, Executive members considered a 25% premium as a sensible starting point in order to help bring empty properties back into use and support young people onto the property ladders, whilst also protecting the Island’s tourism industry.
Anglesey’s Head of Function (Resources) Marc Jones, explained, “The purpose of the premium is to try to get long term empty properties back into use in the county, not for creating additional income for the Council. We must ensure that the premium is set high enough to have an impact on the owners of empty properties, so that they can be brought back into use. However, we must also ensure that it is not set too high or that will lead to difficulties in collecting council tax.”
Members agreed that a 25% premium should be set for both long term empty properties and second homes; and that a review of the impact the premium has had should be carried out before setting any future premiums.
Finance portfolio holder, Councillor Hywel Eifion Jones, said, “Many local authorities have been asking the Welsh Government for these powers for a number of years and now we have them.”
“If we’re going to do this, we want it to make a difference and give the young people of our Island more of an opportunity to get on the property ladder. It’s not right that there are so many empty homes here, particularly those that have been vacant for over four years, so we must take that into consideration. I believe that a 25% premium will make a difference, but will also ensure that we’re still able to collect Council Tax needed to run our services.”
Council Leader and Tourism portfolio holder, Cllr Ieuan Williams, added, “It’s important that we take the tourism industry into account when coming to a final decision, but I do not believe that introducing a 25% premium will be pricing people out of the local market.”
A consultation, currently being undertaken on the proposals, will come to an end on March 4th. The Executive recommendation will go before Full Council for a final decision on Thursday, March 10th.
Owners of long term empty properties seeking help can contact Anglesey’s empty homes officer on 01248 752283.
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