Second home discounts slashed

OWNERS of holiday homes will have to pay far more council tax this year after the discount they have enjoyed was slashed.Suffolk Coastal council – which has 2,499 holiday homes, nearly five per cent of the area's housing stock and the most second homes in the county – cut the discount from 50pc to 10pc.

OWNERS of holiday homes will have to pay far more council tax this year after the discount they have enjoyed was slashed.

Suffolk Coastal council – which has 2,499 holiday homes, nearly five per cent of the area's housing stock and the most second homes in the county – cut the discount from 50pc to 10pc.

It will generate an extra £115,800 for the council to spend on services, plus another £901,600 for the county council, and £110,700 for the police.

In future holiday homeowners will have to pay 90pc of the council tax bill. But council leader Ray Herring said it had not been possible to scrap the discount all together and force them pay the full amount.

He said the government insisted that 10pc discount was kept so that it was known how many holiday homes there were in each area.

Answering a question from Liberal Democrat group leader Christine Block, he said the £115,800 the district council would receive would not be spent on a specific project but used for the benefit of all tax payers to keep charges down.

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Second homes are said to put further pressure on property prices, in particular prices for smaller accommodation which would be suitable for first-time buyers.

There is also concern second homes have cut the amount of property available for local people to buy to be close to their work or families.

Businesses also have deep concerns that unoccupied holiday homes cut the use of shops, pubs and post offices, making some unviable and leading to closures.

The council also agreed to remove entirely the 50pc tax discount given on long-term empty homes – which it is hoped may encourage owners to bring them back into use and ease the housing crisis.

In Suffolk Coastal there are 800 long-term empty homes.

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