Support grows for second homes tax

published by

Fran Puddefoot

Senior figures from the housing sector have given their support to a landmark decision to place a council tax premium on second homes and help tackle a “chronic shortage” of affordable housing that is undermining North Yorkshire’s communities.


In November, North Yorkshire County Council backed plans to introduce a 100 per cent premium for council tax bills on second homes in the county within the next two years.


The new scheme will effectively double council tax bills for second home owners, and means that North Yorkshire is one of the first areas in the country to progress with adopting the Government’s new measures.


The proposals are aimed at bringing second homes back into use for local communities after many people have been priced out of the housing market in some of North Yorkshire’s most desirable locations.


It is also expected that the decision to introduce the premium will provide a multi-million pound boost to finance key council priorities, including a central aim to use the funding to help introduce more housing in areas particularly affected by the affordability crisis.


The National Housing Federation’s chief executive, Kate Henderson, voiced her support for the move to help tackle the issue of second home ownership, which is particularly prevalent in North Yorkshire’s vast rural areas and seaside towns.


She said: “There is a chronic shortage of truly affordable homes in rural areas, and where people can’t afford to live, they can’t afford to work, which ultimately damages rural growth and productivity.


“I’m glad to see that the revenue raised from these measures will be directed to providing the homes that communities sorely need.”


Analysis has shown that the introduction of a 100 per cent premium on council tax bills for second homes in North Yorkshire could generate in excess of £14 million a year in additional revenue.


The Scarborough district has the potential to bring in almost half of that figure due to the large number of second homes in coastal towns such as Whitby, Scarborough and Filey.


The research has shown that Richmondshire could generate about £1.8 million through the second homes premium, while the Craven, Harrogate and Ryedale districts could each provide about £1.5 million in extra revenue. Hambleton could provide £1 million and the Selby district a further £260,000.


The premium is outlined under an over-arching policy for council tax premiums and discounts which is being introduced when a new local authority spanning the whole of North Yorkshire is launched on April 1 next year.


Author:  Sarah Freeman, V&A Homes


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