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28th Jun, 2022

Lib Dems' new 'Empty Homes Premium' scheme could help ease Bromsgrove's housing crisis

EMPTY homes across Bromsgrove could be brought back into use to help address the district’s housing crisis under a new proposal put forward by the Liberal Democrats.

The motion will be discussed and voted on at the full Bromsgrove District Council meeting on Wednesday, January 26.

According to the most recent figures published in 2021 there are now 2,639 people or families on the council’s waiting list for a new home in Bromsgrove.

Yet at the last count there were also 462 homes in the district sat completely empty, instead of going to a family in need.

After discovering this the Liberal Democrats brought forward a motion in October 2020 calling for an ‘Empty Homes Premium’ to be adopted in Bromsgrove.

This means using the council tax system to encourage owners of empty homes to bring them back into use or sell them to somebody else who can.

If the motion is approved, the Empty Homes Premium will be implemented from April 1.

The new policy will mean anyone who owns a home which has been empty for more than two years without a valid reason will pay double the usual rate of council tax.

This rises to triple the usual rate for properties empty for more than five years and four times the usual rate for properties empty for more than ten years.

The scheme also removes a policy where owners of empty homes were previously given discounts on council tax for keeping them empty.

Bromsgrove Lib Dem Leader Coun Rob Hunter said: “I am absolutely delighted the Conservatives are now backing our plan to finally tackle the growing problem of empty homes in our district.

“It cannot be right that hundreds of homes sit empty in our community whilst thousands of Bromsgrove families and individuals are stuck on the housing waiting list because they are priced out of the market.”

County Councillor for Bromsgrove Central Josh Robinson added: “As someone who has only recently managed to get on the property ladder myself this senseless waste of homes makes me really angry.

“I’m so pleased that Lib Dem proposals mean we are finally creating a fairer housing market here in Bromsgrove.”

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