Council tax discount on almost 500 Norwich homes to be axed

The owners of almost 500 empty homes in Norwich are to lose their council tax discount on the properties, after Norwich City Council agreed to scrap the perk.

Up until now, owners of homes which have stood empty for more than six months, or a year if they are being renovated, have had 10pc knocked off the council tax for the property.

But, at a meeting of the full council this week, the Liberal Democrat group successfully introduced an amendment to the policy, so that discount is removed.

It emerged at the meeting that there are 467 homes in the city classed as long-term empty and receiving the 10pc discount.

And James Wright, leader of the Lib Dem group, convinced the council to ditch the discount in an attempt to encourage owners to get the homes back into use.


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Mr Wright said: 'The 10pc council tax discount on empty homes incentivises people to keep homes vacant. At a time when we have a housing shortage in Norwich and a stubbornly high housing waiting list this makes no

sense.'

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He said it was a 'sad reflection' of Labour's time in control of City Hall that so many homes remained empty when about 14,000 are on the waiting list for council homes in Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk.

Mr Wright said: 'These houses need to be brought back into use to give Norwich families much needed homes. I hope that ending this discount will help the process and it will bring nearly �60,000 into public coffers, as

councils will gain from its closure.'

Alan Waters, deputy leader of Norwich City Council, said: 'The benefits of this are clear in that it will incentivise people to get those homes occupied, so this is a helpful amendment.

'I have also been looking at the idea of perhaps being able to push up the second home council tax discount, which is currently 90pc, up to 100pc, but that is not possible at the moment as we do not have that discretion.'

• Do you think it's right to take away the council tax discount on empty homes? Let us know your views by writing to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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