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Council's Cabinet supports council tax reform proposals

Members of Cornwall Council’s Cabinet have supported proposals to remove council tax discount for second homes and to introduce a 150% premium on properties which have been empty for more than two years as part of a package of measures aimed at bringing empty homes back into use as quickly as possible and generating additional income to help maintain frontline services. The recommendations from today’s Cabinet meeting, which will now be discussed by both the Corporate Resources and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committees later  this month before going to the full Council for a final decision, include:

  • Setting the council tax discount for Second Homes at 0%  (second homes currently receive a 10% discount)
  • Replacing the current council tax exemption for empty homes undergoing major repairs with a 50% discount for a period of one year only  (these properties are currently exempt from any council tax for up to one year, with full council tax payable afterwards)
  • Replacing the current council tax exemption for vacant, unfurnished homes with a 100% discount for a period of the first vacant two months only  ( these properties are currently exempt from any council tax for up to six months, with full council tax payable afterwards)
  • Levying an Empty Homes premium of 50% on an home which has been empty for more than two years – giving a total Council Tax liability of 150% (  
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Introducing the report Fiona Ferguson, the Council’s portfolio holder for resources, said that the issue of council tax discount on second homes had long been a concern in Cornwall and she welcomed the Government’s decision to change the legislation to allow local authorities greater flexibility in making council tax reforms.

Adding that the Council had acted immediately to take advantage of the new powers, she said removing the existing 10% discount on second homes would ensure that the owners of these properties made the same contribution to maintaining vital services as local residents.  The other reforms would also help encourage owners and landlords to ensure that empty properties are brought back into use as quickly as possible. 

“At a time of financial uncertainty and increasing pressures on our budget, these proposals will help to increase council tax income and I hope they will help to encourage owners not to have properties empty for a significant period of time” she said.  

The recommendations will be discussed at the meeting of the full Council on 11 December.

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