Lib Dems are proposing to increase the premium on council tax which has to be paid on empty homes from 50% to 100%. The Government is raising the ceiling for council tax surcharges on homes that have been empty for at least 2 years and we want Cambridge City Council, which is the local taxing authority, to take advantage of this as soon as they can.
On current trends this would raise extra money – some £40,000 per annum: but because of the way the system works, it would be split between the City Council, the County Council, the Police and Fire Services. Before levying this extra, we want the various organisations to agree to pool the proceeds and use it to improve efforts to reduce rough sleeping and associated street life problems.
Cllr Tim Bick, Lib Dem Group Leader, says: "With our extreme local housing shortage, Cambridge needs all the homes it can get. The Council should be making full use of the powers available, to bear down on existing homes which are just being left unused. There needs to be a strong signal and a strong deterrent on this because it is such an affront to those who struggle to find homes.
Local Lib Dem campaigner, Cheney Payne, say: “While we have people sleeping rough in Cambridge, the money raised from this extra tax on empty homes should be spent directly on increasing efforts to help individuals get off the streets and into accommodation. It would also be excellent if this reinforced the various public services in working together on this urgent challenge.”