Pensioner’s anger over empty homes tax hike
8:52am Friday 25th January 2013 in News
A PENSIONER is launching a protest group to fight tax changes on empty homes that he claims will cost him an extra £1,100 per year.
Bolton Council wants to introduce changes to council tax discounts which would mean owners of empty properties are charged up to 150 per cent of the normal rate.
He says he has been trying unsuccessfully to sell it since the death of his 92-year-old father four years ago, and said that if the changes come in, the tax he pays will rise from £55 to £165 per month.
He said he plans to form a “peaceful protest group” to oppose the move.
Mr Isherwood said: “I bought the house when I got out of the army in 1965 and moved my parents and grandparents into it.
“Before the credit crunch it was worth £150,000 but it’s dropped to £117,500 — which is what it’s now on sale for.
“I think it’s very unfair and I’ve written to Cliff Morris about it.”
Town hall chiefs plan to implement the changes from April, which they say will raise extra cash and bring empty properties back into use.
There are about 3,510 properties in the borough that have been empty for three months or more.
Under the current regime empty properties are exempt from council tax for six months, but if the changes are approved they would only be exempt for three months, then charged 75 per cent tax.
A property empty between six months and two years is currently subject to a 50 per cent tax, but under the new rules there will be no discount.
Homes empty for more than two years now pay 50 per cent tax but would pay 150 per cent.
If approved the plans could raise £1 million per year, which the council says would be used to fund extra council tax support for the elderly and vulnerable.
A council spokesman said the changes had been instigated by the government.
She said: “We understand that these changes will have an impact on the people responsible for paying council tax on empty properties and second homes and so will also establish a discretionary fund to support people that find themselves in exceptional circumstances.”
To join Mr Ishwerood’s group contact him on 0161 7634105.