Will Forster

Mayor of Woking and Lib Dem County Councillor for Woking South Learn more

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Lib Dems want to increase empty home Council Tax from 200% to 500%

by willforster on 26 June, 2018

In a keynote housing speech today, the Leader of the Lib Dems, Vince Cable, called for tough action to be taken against empty homes.

Vince Cable and the Lib Dems want to increase Council Tax on empty homes from 200% to 500% and introduce a Stamp Duty surcharge for overseas residents.

As a party, we think radical change is necessary if the crisis in housing is to be properly addressed in our lifetime.  At one extreme are individuals with serious mental health issues and tens of thousands of homeless families trapped in unsuitable ‘temporary’ accommodation.  At the other, millions of mainly young people, who despite being in good jobs, struggle to pay the deposits or rents required for satisfactory rented accommodation or to afford home ownership.

Yet, there are many homes are left completely empty or underused by their overseas owners – that is why the Lib Dems have called for the Government to increase the empty homes Council Tax and introduce a Stamp Duty surcharge on overseas residents.

Empty homes are a huge problem for us in Woking.  At the start of the year there were 708 homes in Woking sitting empty and we had many more empty homes than our neighbouring Surrey boroughs – Guildford had 475 unoccupied homes, Mole Valley had 297 and Spelthorne had only 122.  Across the country, over 11,000 homes have stood empty for at least a decade.

When we have people homelessness and even more people struggling with the high cost of housing, it is a scandal that so many homes are sitting empty.  Moreover, I know that empty homes can blight an area and cause issues for the residents that live by them – hopefully the Government will listen to Vince Cable’s call for action.

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