Nov 16 2012

Changes to Council Tax to raise an additional £1.1m

Homeowners with empty properties and second homes will lose their council tax discounts and exemptions when Harrow Council implements a new Council Tax Reduction Scheme which could save taxpayers more than £1.1m each year and ensure that those with the most pay their fair share of council tax.

The additional £1.1m in Council Tax revenue will pay for services that support local priorities such as meals on wheels and services for the vulnerable and elderly. 20% of the additional revenue will be allocated to the for redistribution to the Fire and Police Authorities to support the vital work they undertake across London .

Owners of properties that have been empty for more than two years will be charged an additional levy of 50% leading to a council tax bill of 150%.

Empty homes are a waste of valuable resources and mean fewer homes available for Harrow ‘s families. Providing enough homes is a top priority for Harrow Council and we hope that these changes will speed up the time it takes to get an empty home back into use.

Empty homes have a significant financial impact and can be blight on the neighbourhood and these changes will also act to reduce the anti-social behaviour attracted to these properties.

The number of properties affected and an indication of the amount of revenue that will be raised from the changes as of today’s date are detailed below:-

  • 248 households with second homes will raise £37,000.
  • 500 properties empty for more than two years will raise £621,000
  • 176 properties empty and awaiting repair will raise £290,000.
  • 150 properties empty for over 2 years will pay 150% of council tax raising £118,000.

Banks as mortgagees in possession will be liable to pay the council tax on any properties that they have repossessed raising an anticipated £34,000.

It is to be noted that the Government has not yet passed the legislation for the Council to bring these proposals in, but has committed to the changes being made in time for 1 April 2013. Our proposals are based on what we think the final legislation will look like.

Harrow Council’s Portfolio for Finance, Cllr. Sachin Shah said: “More than £60m will be cut from Harrow Council’s budget as a result of the Government’s austerity programme.

“The additional money collected will be used to ensure the Council continues to support Harrow ‘s most vulnerable residents. It will help close the gap left by the government’s budget cuts and provide much needed funds to pay for social service provision across the borough.”

In tough times its right that those with the broadest shoulders pay the biggest burden. That’s why it’s right that we no longer give people a subsidy, paid for by other tax payers, to have a second home.

By charging 150% council tax on long term empty homes, it will encourage landlords to bring their property back in to use. Long term empty properties often bring with them crime with boarded up windows and over grown gardens. Its about time we acted to stop this.”

Source: Harrow Council


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