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Written Statement - Consultation on Exemptions to the Council Tax Premiums on Long Term Empty Homes and Second Homes in Wales

Leighton Andrews, Minister for Public Services

Today, I have published two consultations relating to proposed exemptions to the Council Tax premiums on long-term empty homes and second homes in Wales.

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 which received Royal Assent on 17 September 2014, contains provisions giving Local Authorities the discretionary power to levy premiums of up to 100% of the standard rate of Council Tax on long-term empty homes and second homes in their areas.   Local Authorities will be able to decide to charge these premiums from 1 April 2017.

The Council Tax premiums are an additional measure for Local Authorities to help bring empty homes back into use and to help meet local housing needs.  Local Authorities will be able to take their local needs and circumstances into consideration before deciding whether or not to implement the premiums.

Prior to the premiums on long-term empty homes and second homes being introduced, I would like to consider exemptions which might be required as I recognise there are circumstances in which charging a Council Tax premium might not be appropriate.

The responses to these consultations will inform the Regulations I intend to make prescribing certain categories of dwelling which will not be subject to the premiums.  

There are already numerous existing exemptions to Council Tax and these will also extend to the Council Tax premiums.  As a result, these consultations only consider potential exemptions to the Council Tax premiums as well as amendments that may be required to existing Council Tax exemptions, for example, those which are time limited, in light of the introduction of the premiums.

The consultations will run from 13 March to 13 June 2015.

The consultation on Council Tax on Long-Term Empty Homes ran from 31 July 2012 to 20 October 2012.

The consultation on discretionary powers for Local Authorities to increase Council Tax on Second Homes ran from 16 September 2013 to 28 October 2013.

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 can be accessed here: 
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/anaw/2014/7/contents/enacted