Lake District second home owners will have to pay full council tax from next year (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Lake District second home owners will have to pay full council tax from next year
SOUTH Lakeland District Council is planning to scrap a Council Tax discount for second home owners and use the extra income to cover a half-a-million pound reduction in government funding.
The 10 per cent reduction is likely to be no longer offered from April and instead second home owners will have to stump up the full rate.
The plan, supported by the council’s cabinet, will need to be backed at a full council meeting on December 18.
The aim is that part of the additional cash generated should be used to fund a newly-created Council Tax reduction scheme.
The government’s Welfare Reform Act abolishes Council Tax Benefit from April 1 2013 and Whitehall has told SLDC it will receive £560,000 a year less towards paying out the benefit.
Coun David Evans, portfolio holder for resources, said: “The abolition of the old scheme would have meant the most vulnerable in our society, such as the elderly, those on low wages and the disabled could have suffered.”
SLDC has consulted on the proposal, including those on benefits and second home owners, and say a significant majority supported getting rid of the discount. SLDC says it will now be looking at removing or reducing Council Tax discount on empty properties to encourage owners to bring them back into use.