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Council Tax changes key to bringing empty homes back into use


The Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Housing and Local Government, Peter Black has reiterated his support for a change in regulations allowing for flexible council tax charges on empty properties.

Speaking ahead of an Assembly debate on Council Tax, Mr Black said:

"I have been advocating changes in regulations allowing Local Authorities to increase charges on empty properties for several years. The Welsh Liberal Democrats brought this debate to the Assembly back in 2008 and several times since then.

"In many areas empty homes are a blight on local communities and councils have failed to take advantage of powers they have to bring them back into use.  Allowing them to charge higher council tax levels would be one step towards this. 

"Obviously there are some instances where homes are left empty through no fault of the owners and we would wish to ensure extra charges do not penalise those who are, for example, renovating their property, or negotiating their way through a particularly complicated settlement of a deceased person's estate.

"In other cases, however, where homes have been empty for some considerable time we believe a sliding scale of increased payments would help encourage owners to get their homes back into use, thus increasing the number of affordable properties on the market.

"The upcoming Housing Bill will hopefully introduce legislation to this effect and I will continue to campaign to ensure this happens."


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