Council tax cut for multiple home owners and those with empty propertiesBy Jennie Slevin
January 10, 2013
SAVINGS of nearly half a million pounds will be made in a move targeting the wealthy, say council bosses.
Bracknell Forest Council’s executive committee members approved reforms to scrap the current exemptions, which give homeowners with empty or multiple properties a discount on their council tax bills.
Councillor Alan Ward, executive member for transformation and finance said: “I think this shows those who say the reforms will affect the poor rather than the rich are lying.”
Cllr Dale Birch added: “The public have long been concerned about properties being left vacant and still accruing council tax discount.
“I think this will be well received by the vast majority of people who will see it as a positive step. The reforms may also lead to empty properties being put back on the market for sale or rent so I’m 100 per cent behind it.”
The council stands to save £490,000 from these cuts, money which will be used to fund the new local council tax benefit scheme put in place following the abolition of the Government’s national scheme.
The reforms to the benefit scheme, which will also be funded by a £119,000 grant by the Government, will only affect working age payers, ensuring pensioners are not left high and dry.
Executive members agreed that out of work benefit claimants’ council tax benefit will drop from 100 per cent to 91.5 percent.
The council will also set up a hardship fund for anyone who has difficulties paying council tax.
The reforms will go to the full council on Wednesday, January 23 for approval.