Agenda item

Council Tax Premiums Report


The next report presented by the Leader dealt with the matter of consulting with residents on the introduction of a Council Tax Premium applied to long-term empty properties and second homes in the city as an incentive to bring these homes back into use.


Full Council would determine whether this would be undertaken and this report was asking for the Cabinet’s approval to start a consultation exercise with residents on the issue. 


There was a high demand for affordable homes in the city, while at the same time, there were nearly 1,000 long-term empty properties in the city and to a lesser extent, second homes.


Newport City Council tried to incentivise homeowners to bring these back into use when it was agreed to charge the full rate of Council Tax on these properties and ended the 50% discount, they previously had in 2018/19. Unfortunately, this did not have the impact the Council was seeking.


Councils in Wales have the power to charge a Council Tax premium on certain properties such as long-term empty properties and second homes in order to meet various housing and community-related policy objectives in their local areas. The vast majority of other Councils in Wales had already or were soon to introduce some form of premium.


Cabinet therefore wished to explore the use of these powers and this report asked Cabinet to approve a consultation on this issue with the residents of Newport. This would be available on the Council’s website.


There was concern about the increasing demand for quality and affordable housing in the city and the need to bring as many of these properties back into meaningful use as soon as possible.


Cabinet would consider the results and decide on this towards the end of the year and if it would be taken forward, it would be brought to Council in January.


Comments of Cabinet Members:


§  Councillor Clarke referred to the demand for temporary accommodation. This applied not just to Newport but throughout the UK. Councillor Clarke also mentioned the Council’s commitment to improve the outcome for citizens and to ensure that homelessness was rare. This proposal encouraged property owners to put their properties back into use and would be welcomed by residents. Councillor Clarke hoped that residents would get behind a consultation process, should it take place, and put their opinions forward.


§  Councillor Harvey agreed with charging a premium but would much prefer to allow a family to be homed. This issue was not just with homeless people but with people struggling to find a home or fleeing domestic violence. Councillor Harvey therefore fully supported the report.


§  Councillor Hughes thanked the Leader for bringing this report forward and said that it was not just about raising revenue but a civic duty for residents who owned empty properties to think about what they were doing as part of the development of the city.  Councillor Hughes therefore encouraged residents to get involved in the consultation as it would make a difference in the environment and the city that they lived in within Newport.


§  The Leader agreed with comments and added that it was important to get houses to a usable standard.  The use of council tax premiums would inform the Council’s thinking.  In 2019, the Leader made a commitment to being a listening Council and would consider the results of the consultation and address this at the end of the year and bring to Council in January.




Cabinet noted the contents of the report and agreed that a public consultation on the introduction of council tax premiums was undertaken.

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