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Council to go to war with second home owners with radical plan to introduce new tax

New council proposals have left homeowners outraged as residents could be slapped with double council tax on their second homes.

This week, councillors across Bath and North East Somerset will decide whether the new tax system will be enforced.

A meeting is set to go ahead on Thursday to decide whether to charge extra tax on “long-term empty” homes.

It comes after the Government introduced The Levelling-Up and Regeneration Act 2023 in October, which allows council’s to increase the tax by 100 per cent on homes that are kept substantially furnished, but are only occupied periodically.

According to records, a total of 858 in the area would be affected by the change which would come into effect on 1 April, 2025.

The tax change would generate an extra £1.84 million for the council.

A report on the plans said: “The recommendations in the report will either incentivise owners of second homes to sell them, thus returning them to local housing stock or increase contributions to the council and help fund vital services.”

Over the next five years, the council faces a £35m budget gap as chiefs warned they will need to make “extremely challenging” efficiencies.

This financial year, the council is forecast to have overspent by £6.5m which has been largely driven by the council’s children’s services running over budget.

At a meeting on November 9, council leader Kevin Guy warned: “If the funding situation — particularly for adults and children’s services — is not rectified by this government or the next government, it is only a matter of time before all local authorities in the United Kingdom go bankrupt.”

Another council tax change is also being considered for long term empty homes.

Residential properties which have been unoccupied for between two and five years currently pay a 100 per cent council tax premium.

The change would lower council tax for 2,768 households but reduce the amount of support offered to 1,127 others.

Earlier this year, council tax for all households in Bath and North East Somerset went up 4.99 percent this year.

The proposals on second homes, long-term empty properties, and council tax support will be decided by councillors at a full meeting of Bath and North East Somerset Council on Thursday November 30.

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