Posted: Fri 21st Jul 2023

Councillors Welcome Consultation on Increasing Council Tax on Empty Properties in Blaenau Gwent, Could Generate £1.3m for Council /
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jul 21st, 2023

COUNCILLORS have welcomed the opportunity of holding a consultation on proposals to increase the council tax on long term empty properties in Blaenau Gwent.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday, July 19, the proposal was discussed by councillors.
The report explains that an extra £1.3 million could be generated for council coffers if the maximum premium possible of 300 per cent is levied on these properties.
Deputy council leader Cllr Helen Cunningham said: “I welcome this report, especially as we are in the midst of a housing crisis.
“It will be very useful to understand the views of the public and organisations and to understand what this could mean for Blaenau Gwent and what role it could play in making more homes available for people.”
Cllr Cunningham added that tweaks need be made to the draft consultation questions that were included in the report.
Cllr Cunningham said: “It will be useful when we are considering the consultation responses to understand in what capacity the people are responding to it.
“We can anticipate that a response from a housing or homeless charity is likely to be different from a landlord.”
Cabinet member for regeneration, Cllr John Morgan said: “It will be good to get a balanced view.
“I think a lot of people will welcome this.”
The report was approved unanimously.
In April, the Welsh Government agreed that local authorities can charge up to 300 per cent more council tax on top of the normal bill on both long-term empty properties and second homes.
According to the Welsh Government, the intention of the policy is to help to bring long-term empty properties back into use to “provide safe, secure. and affordable homes and support local authorities in increasing the supply of affordable housing and enhancing the sustainability of local communities.”
Throughout Blaenau Gwent there are currently 400 dwellings classed as long-term empty, and one registered as a second home.
The report said: “There is a significant unmet demand for affordable housing within Blaenau Gwent alongside increasing costs associated with homelessness.”
Local authorities in other parts of Wales have brought in these higher council tax premiums for long-term empty properties.
In March neighbouring Monmouthshire County Council agreed a sliding scale of premiums to be levied on long term empty properties depending on how long they have been empty.
A 100 per cent premium applies to properties empty for one year, a 200 per cent for properties empty for two years and a 300 per cent to properties empty for three years or more. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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