Mayor urges 150% council tax bill for empty homes
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Housing
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The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has called on the capital's local authorities to increase council tax on long-term empty homes to 150%.
Speaking from the World Economic Development Forum in Davos, Johnson urged councils to follow Camden's lead, where long-term empties have already seen council tax "whacked up" to 150%.
The Mayor said: "I see no reason why Kensington and Chelsea shouldn't apply the same measure. If 150% increase isn't enough, I'd go up a multiple of that."
Last year Camden Council increased council tax to 150% on furnished properties left empty for more than two years. Within nine months, the number of vacant properties in the borough dropped by 35%.
Meanwhile, an extra 50% council tax charge introduced last year on unfurnished homes that have been empty for more than two years has helped reduce the number of long-term empty homes in Camden from 248 to 162.
Now Westminster's Labour councillors are urging Westminster Council to listen to Johnson and follow Camden’s lead. There are an estimated 3,000 empty properties in the borough.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour Group, said: “Increasing the council tax to 150% for long–term empty properties in Westminster would bring many homes back in to use that are now vacant. This is a practical, proven and common-sense proposal which has worked successfully next door in Camden. It would make sense to follow Camden and Boris Johnson, who both support this proposal from opposing political standpoints, to bring much-needed empty homes back into use.”