Lib Dems Lead Charge Towards Fairer Society

November 7, 2011 4:58 PM

The Coalition Government has published proposals to end the requirement for councils to offer a discount of between 10-50% on council tax if the home is not someone's main residence.

In Sutton, it is estimated that last year the council missed out on £10, 000 because of discounts on second homes. There were 145 of these in the borough of Sutton last year, a figure which was expected to rise further without these reforms, as they had done in the preceding two years. These reforms will provide Sutton council with extra money to spend on those who are disadvantaged throughout the borough, and help to create a fairer society, the ethos at the heart of Liberal Democrat policy.

Additionally, the proposals help tackle the problem of long-term empty homes, which are a waste of housing. The reforms will give local authorities more freedom to tackle the problems of empty homes in their area.

Commenting, Tom Brake, local Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington said: "This is a perfect example of sensible reform. It is not logical to subsidise the rich at the expense of the less well off, as was occurring as a result of these discount rules. Second homes currently receive a discount of up to 50% on their council tax bill, leaving local people who are struggling to pay the bills in their solitary home subsidising the council tax of people wealthy enough to own two. I support this positive move made by the Government. It shows that despite the wealth of issues already facing the Government, their first priority remains the people of this country."

Further, Liberal Democrat Communities Minister, Andrew Stunell, has announced that councils will be allowed to charge an Empty Homes Premium on council tax, of up to 50%, on any home left empty for two years or longer.

Tom additionally stated: "There is a very real housing issue in Sutton, as there is throughout the country; young people and young families are unable to get on the property ladder because there aren't enough houses available. Yet as of 2010, there were 145 registered second homes, which stand empty most of the year while their owners live miles away.

"Ending the mandatory discount will bring thousands of pounds back to our councils, something Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for. Councils will be able to use this money to support services and drive investment in our communities rather than helping those who can afford multiple homes."

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