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Abolish council tax discount for second homes - up for debate

Thursday, 13 October 2011 1 Comment by Claire

I lodged a Notice of Motion at last night’s full East Devon District Council meeting, asking the council to call on the Government to abolish the council tax discount on second homes. 

My speech was as follows:

“There are over 3000 households on the housing register in East Devon, waiting for homes to become available. 

Over 3000 houses in East Devon are empty.

Around 25000 homes in Devon and Cornwall are reported to be empty.

In East Devon, over 3000 houses are classed as empty.  Almost 2500 of that number are second homes or holiday lets that are empty for more than six months of the year.

That is one and a half times the size of Ottery St Mary, in East Devon alone.

We are told that there is a housing crisis and many more houses must be built.

Empty houses are bad for the economy.  Without enough people to spend money in local shops and pubs, communities will wither. 

Empty houses are bad for community spirit.  Without enough people to participate in community projects communities will wither.

I imagine that this initiative would find widespread support among residents in East Devon.

I believe it is fair that people who own second homes should pay at least the same amount of council tax as single home owners.

The extra income to East Devon – tens of thousands of pounds – would be used for housing services at a time of Government cuts and enormous pressure on finances.

I hope the council will support this move, which in my view, is long overdue.”

The motion was seconded by Cllr Roger Giles. 

Before any debate could get going, Cllr Paul Diviani (Leader of the council) proposed it should be debated at the Cabinet meeting on 30 November, accompanied by an officer’s report, detailing the financial considerations.  The all-Conservative cabinet will then produce a resolution which will return to Full Council. 

I was a bit surprised as I was expecting a debate, but it seemed a reasonable way forward.  I will be speaking at the Cabinet meeting on 30 November, which starts at 5.30pm.


1. At 01:51 pm on 09th Jan Elena Stone wrote:

There should be a mindset change in the simplistic assumption that all second home owners are well-off because that is not the case.

As a case study 15% of our income are spent on Council Tax on both our home as we are a low income family. We just want to keep my husband’s childhood home for our future retirement home as well as save it for our children. My eldest can only find a part time job which will struggle to even get to the property ladder. My youngest first year at Plymouth University have £12K loan so far.

We second home owners are an easy target. What the Council should do I suggest is to apply efficiency by reducing wastage in many different areas in the council, remove fat cats (some councils do have fat cats).

The council tax started in around 1990 and is unfair now many people spend 10% of their income on council tax. Second home owners used to have 50% discount, it becomes 10% discount now the nasty people in EDDC want that remove.

By the amount of time we go to Uplyme, it equate probably 1/5 the Council spent of the council tax we paid. So it is unfair to remove the 10% discount.

I suggest EDDC to apply more creativity and not focus on an easy target like us second home owners. I like to reiterate that we are not all wealthy.

Thank you.

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