Council expecting tax boosts from empty homes payments

Powys County Council’s finances will receive a boost in next year’s budget as hikes to council tax payment for holiday homes and long-term empty properties come into force.

Powys County Council
Powys County Council

The council's cabinet meeting this week was told that the changes of policy will see an extra 778 band D properties brought in to pay either the extra 75 per cent or 100 per cent premium, which the owner will need to pay on top of the normal council tax bill.

But councillors were warned not to rely on the new funding stream for too long.

Setting the council tax base is an annual legal requirement and starts the process, which will finish usually in late February or early March when the budget and council tax for the next financial year is voted on at a full council meeting.

Finance portfolio holder, Councillor David Thomas said: “The council has determined to increase the 50 per cent premium on long-term empty properties to 100 per cent and to increase the 50 per cent premium on periodically occupied dwellings (second homes/holiday homes) to 75 per cent.

“The council tax base calculation includes a projection of those properties, totalling 778 band D equivalent, expected to be subject to the new premium rates during 2023-24.”

Head of finance Jane Thomas said: “The growth in the council tax base will generate extra revenue.

“However, as much of that is attached to the premiums, we are not considering that in its full extent as the aim of the premiums is to deliver a change, so we can’t rely on that.”

Councillors unanimously approved the council tax base. The base for 2023/24 has been calculated to be 64,256.51, which is a rise of 1,184.32 or 1.88 per cent from this year’s base which is 63,072.19. The tax base is a calculation based on the number of dwellings, the number of dwellings that are exempt from council tax, and the number liable for council tax.

This calculation is founded on the number of houses in each council tax band and needs to take account of several factors including discounts, exemptions, disablement reductions and premiums.

The base also considers potential losses in unpaid bills and assumes a 98.5 per cent collection rate.

It is expected that just before Christmas the Welsh Government will publish the funding allocation for local authorities for the 2023/24 financial year.

The Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn will use the calculation as well as town and community councils to help set their council tax precepts for the forthcoming fiscal year.

This levy will be added to Powys County Council’s decision on setting the council tax and will be part of the total bill.

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