A hike in tax for second homes

As part of plans by Preston City Council, second homes and properties within the city which have been empty for more than two years are set to be hit by proposed new changes in council tax.

A 10 per cent council tax discount could be revoked for 304 second homeowners as a number of homes in Preston are left empty.

 Another change could be the replacement of the six month exemption for empty homes with a two month exemption and a doubling of rates for 424 homes that have been empty for more than two years.

Houses under construction could see a 12-month exemption replaced with a 50 per cent discount for 12 months.

These changes could bring in an extra £692,000 a year, with £117,000 of that going to Preston Council.

Coun Peter Rankin, leader of Preston Council, said: “We are very keen to see this go ahead.

“The end aim is to reduce the number of empty properties in Preston and (these changes) clearly makes it financially beneficial for them to be put on the market.

“It also has the added benefit of raising a bit more money for the council.

“There isn’t a lot of good news around in terms of local authority funding at the moment, but this is the one glimmer in amongst all the gloom of what we’ve got.”

There will be some people, including the elderly in care  who are protected from these changes.

Coun Rankin said: “This should help ease the demand for housing in Preston, which is very good news.”

If given the go ahead, changes could come into effect from April 1 next year.

The proposals will be discussed by Preston Council next week