Homeowners face massive tax bills as councils are given go-ahead to scrap discounts on second properties
02:07 GMT, 17 December 2012
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will give local authorities the freedom to raise charges on the 255,000 second homes in England
Councils have been given the green light to scrap discounts on council tax for second home owners by the Cabinet Minister in charge of the policy.
Second home owners will be hit with huge new tax bills when councils are given the freedom to scrap the discounts in April.
Hundreds of thousands of holiday homeowners are expected to lose discounts ranging from ten per cent to 50 per cent next spring.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will give local authorities the freedom to raise charges on the 255,000 second homes in England.
Mr Pickles was asked on Sky’s Murnaghan programme why second home owners should not be charged full rates if their bins were still emptied and their streets were cleaned.
He replied: ‘Why not indeed That’s why we’ve given it for local authorities to decide.’
Councils in London, the Cotswolds and coastal areas such as Devon and Cornwall are expected to axe the discount.
The extra money gained would be used to keep overall council tax bills down.
Supporters of the plan believe it could help revive communities where young adults have been priced out of the place where they grew up by holiday home owners who vacate the villages during the week.
Facing massive bills: Hundreds of thousands of holiday homeowners are expected to lose discounts ranging from ten per cent to 50 per cent next spring
However, critics fear that the move is a tax on aspiration and will lead to a glut of second homes on the market.
Mr Pickles has criticised a mayor who claimed that his city’s residents would be ‘rioting in the streets’ over austerity measures after it emerged that his town hall are holding 146million in reserves.
Joe Anderson, the Labour Mayor of Liverpool, had warned David Cameron that further cuts would trigger a re-run of last year’s summer riots.
But Mr Pickles told Sky TV: ‘If things are really tight, how come council reserves have shot up Now that isn’t a sign that their council is doing terribly badly.’