Pickles to allow second home council tax discount cut

Terraced houses Councils will also be encouraged to offer discounts to householders who pay their bills online

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Owners of second homes in England could lose council tax discounts, under plans due to be announced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles later.

Councils would have the power to reduce or remove council tax relief on second homes and empty homes. Second homes currently receive up to 50% discount.

The money would be used to keep overall council tax bills down, he is to say.

Mr Pickles will also announce a review of rules under which "granny flats" are treated as separate properties.

The communities secretary, who is due to announce a consultation on the plans, said he wanted to help "everyday families" with living costs.

He is expected to stress there are no plans to change the rules on council tax relief available for "special circumstances", such as homes left empty after a person has moved into a hospital or care home, or has died.

The communities secretary is also due to announce a review of rules under which tax inspectors treat self-contained annexes to family homes as distinct properties. The move would mean families who house a relative in an annex would no longer pay two bills.

'Protect family homes'

Councils will also be encouraged to offer discounts to householders who pay their bills online.

At present, discounts on second homes and empty properties range from 10% to 50% and can be worth hundreds of pounds a year.

The government said the reforms would allow for a £20 reduction in the annual bill for a typical Band D property in England. The current average for a Band D property is £1,196.

Mr Pickles said: "Under Labour, council tax went through the roof.

"This government has scrapped Labour's council tax revaluation and is helping (to) freeze council tax for two years.

"I want to do more to help everyday families with their cost of living, and protect family homes from tax increases.

"By removing the subsidised tax breaks for empty homes and second homes, we can cut £20 a year off families' council tax bills by treating everyone equally and fairly."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 641.

    I hope companies and banks, are also liable to pay council tax with these measures, as they will force all this empty property to be rented, sold or otherwise lived in. This makes better use of the housing stock.

    Also, people should be able to claim housing benefit at a reduced rate, if they live with close family. This would be fiscally neutral, as well as making better use of housing stock.

  • rate this

    Comment number 640.

    "Also make revaluation based on the sale price which would put properties into their proper bands"
    What relevance has the value of a property got to do with how much Loc.tax you pay ?
    Do you pay income tax this way, no because it would be stupid.
    As charges are so high now, the burdon should be faily spread across society & quit this blinkered view.

  • rate this

    Comment number 639.


    Your alternative?

    Yes, LIT is fairer, but much more expensive to collect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 638.

    Good. Maybe then those of us who were driven out of our home towns and still can't afford places of our own can finally get a place to call home.

  • rate this

    Comment number 637.

    Life is not fair, but to allow the well-off to cash in on rent whilst getting a discount on council tax is obscene.Many people are sharing very cramped accommodation or are on friends sofas, whilst other property is sitting empty,and getting a discount for doing so.The time for market forces to dictate anything are long gone. A lead must be taken to ensure the drivers of the economy have a home.


Comments 5 of 641


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