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Council tax bid to cut empty homes
5:30pm Monday 21st January 2013 in News
COUNCIL tax discounts in north Oxfordshire are to be scaled back in a bid to get hundreds of empty homes back into use.
Cherwell District Council is set to join other county authorities in taking on new powers to remove or cut discounts.
It is hoped the move will also claw back £60,000 needed to make up for a cut in Government cash support.
The change will cut the 100 per cent six-month discount on empty and unfurnished homes to 25 per cent, netting an estimated £52,457 a year. Since April, 14,241 exemptions have been granted for such properties, though often for short periods.
The council also wants to axe the 10 per cent discount on second homes, expected to save £3,785. Some 356 exemptions were given this year.
Uninhabitable homes would also get a 50 per cent reduction for 12 months instead of 100 per cent, saving £4,625, 343 exemptions this year.
But the council will not adopt a 150 per cent premium charge for homes empty longer than two years.
The executive member for financial management, Ken Atack, said of empty homes: “It’s very wasteful in a society where we have got people without accommodation. We’re right to push ahead and encourage people to bring homes back into use.” But the premium charge would be “over-zealous”, he added.
Councillors will be asked to approve the changes at a meeting tonight.
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