Second homes should be taxed to help Council income

By Belinda Ryan - Local Democracy Reporter

21st Feb 2023 | Housing

Cheshire East Council will decide on proposed council tax hikes this week
Cheshire East Council will decide on proposed council tax hikes this week

Proposed changes to council tax rules for second home owners could see Cheshire East rake in an extra £2.6m from 2024.

The government is currently bringing forward the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill which will give councils further flexibility when it comes to billing second home owners.

Under the proposals, local authorities would have more scope to charge a council tax premium of up to 100 per cent on second homes.

The Bill also proposes to bring forward the time period under which a premium can be charged on a long-term empty property from two years to one year.

Macclesfield councillor Nick Mannion (Lab) told the Local Democracy Reporting Service, if this goes ahead it could boost the council's coffers by up to £2.6m from April next year.

Cllr Nick Mannion (Lab) thinks the scheme could boost the income of the council (image - Cheshire East Council)

"The government recognises the current situation is unfair and untenable going forward so it's closing the loophole," said Cllr Mannion.

"This initiative will generate income to spend on local services and it may persuade second home owners to think again about other options, like renting homes to other residents rather than standing empty for the majority of the year."

He stressed it was all dependent on the legislation going through.

According to the council, if this does go ahead, it could affect approximately 1,900 properties in Cheshire East.

"Implementation is expected to be effective from April 1 2024 and would require a resolution to be made prior to April 1 2023," states a report in the council's mid-term financial strategy

Meanwhile, in the more immediate future, Cheshire East will be making the final decision on its budget at a meeting of the full council tomorrow (Wednesday).

This includes a proposed hike of 4.99 per cent of Cheshire East's share of the council tax from this April, two per cent of which will be ring-fenced for adult social care.

The meeting of the full council takes place at 11 am tomorrow (Wednesday, February 22) at Macclesfield Town Hall.

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