Increase council tax on second homes, urges councillor

A Cheshire councillor has called for an increase in council tax on second homes and empty properties to bring more buildings into use.

Cheshire West and Chester Councillor Mark Henesy, who represents Strawberry Ward in Ellesmere Port, said the move could bring 300,000 homes back into use across the country – and raise cash for local authorities.

His motion will be considered by the council on December 15.

He wants the charge to rise from 75% to 90% on second homes and from 75% to 100% on long-term empty properties.

"Here in Cheshire West there are 2,000 homes which have remained empty for more than six months," said cllr Henesy.

"In my opinion we need to get these back onto the market so that people can live in them and perhaps by increasing the council tax it will prompt more owners to put their properties on the market because they would be less inclined to pay the full council tax by keeping them empty.

"Also time is running out because any changes to council tax policy must be finalised soon, so that it becomes policy for April – the start of the new financial year."

Ellesmere Port town councillor Justin Madders is seconding the motion.

He said: "This idea may help people who are trying to get onto the property ladder. It must also be pointed out that the increase in second homes council tax will result in £170,000 for the council while the council tax rise for the long term empty properties would bring in £450,000."

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