The End to the Second Homes Council Tax Discount?
The second home discount is for many one of those injustices that if truth be told should not be in existence. Those supporters of it could claim that they don’t use all the council services, so therefore are good value by paying 90% of it. My view is that if you own one house, or ten, then you pay the full Council Tax. I know a lot of so called second homes are in fact run as businesses and are taxed as businesses.
At today’s Cornwall Council meeting a motion was put forward to ask the Government to remove this discount. Many may not know, but the Council has to give the discount as it is Government Legislation. I wish it was not, but them’s the apples.
There are currently 246,000 second homes registered for a discount in England, of which more than 40 per cent are larger properties in Band D or
higher. In Cornwall, for example, there are 14,000 second homes receiving a 10% cut in bills. If this were abolished, it could raise at least £2m a year
Currently, Councils can reduce council tax for second homeowners by up to 50%, this option offered by one in five local authorities. Four in five offer the minimum discount of 10%.
During the debate many Councillors said that second homes should be subject to a premium council tax of double or at least half again. It is an interesting argument, but one that is a little too early as we need to remove the 10% discount before we look at anything else.
The debate ran its course, and a vote was taken. It is hardly going to surprise anyone but the motion was carried with a rather large majority.
Interestingly, and before the debate started at least five Councillors made Deceleration of Interests that they were owners of second homes.