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Council tax discount to be scrapped for second homes in Cornwall

Rebecca Rutt
by Lovemoney Staff Rebecca Rutt on 22 November 2012  |  Comments 21 comments

Cornwall becomes the first county to attempt to scrap second home council tax discounts.

Council tax discount to be scrapped for second homes in Cornwall

Second homes in Cornwall may no longer be able to benefit from a 10% council tax discount after a vote today by the Cornwall Council cabinet.

There could also be a 150% charge levied on houses in the area which are left vacant for two years or more.

Cornwall is the first county to propose scrapping the second home discount and it’s possible others, including those in London, are soon to follow.

Although this has been voted on by the cabinet, the plans will now have to go through a scrutiny committee and the full council will take a vote on 11th December before anything becomes final.

If they are agreed the changes should take place on 1st April.

Holiday homes in Cornwall

Cornwall has one of the highest percentages of these homes with 3,200 currently not being used at all and 14,400 registered as second homes.

There is also a housing shortage in Cornwall so the move will help alleviate this as well as creating around £4 million for the council.

Houses  which are undergoing major repairs will also be liable to more council tax. Currently those with major repairs being carried out have a 100% discount for the first 12 months but this is expected to be cut to 50%.

Council tax discount

Council tax is paid depending on how much a property is worth. Different values are seperated into bands and one rate is paid for a first home, with certain discounts available for example for full-time students, and a discount is applied on second properties.

However, last year Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced new plans to give local authorities the power to charge second home owners the full rate of council tax.

Discounts of up to 50% are available on second homes but many people think this is unfair. Second home owners have also been accused of driving up the price of property across the UK and pricing many local residents out of the market. 

Do you agree with these changes? Or should second homeowners be entitled to a council tax discount? Let us know in the comment box below.

More on council tax:

How to slash your council tax bill

Where council tax is rising and falling next year

Council tax rebanding: the risks


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Comments (21)

  • alldav
    Love rating 4
    alldav said

    As a second home owner,who pays full Council Tax in Wales, I cannot see any problem with this. I spend my time pretty equally in two locations, so I just take the hit of two lots of tax. Getting a benefit from multiple ownership seems inequitable.

    The issue of discount when a home is uninhabitable due to building works is more questionable, our builders who were going to take 20 weeks, ended up taking 2 years!

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  2 loves
  • fender
    Love rating 27
    fender said

    There are many reasons why someone has more than one home the most obvious is buy to let. The profits from buy to let in real terms are usually only around 10%.

    Twisting the rules to max. raking in council tax from these houses when they are empty is simply ripping off the owners while giving them nothing in return.

    In my opinion Council tax is extortion end of story.

    The way money is extorted is not based on ability to pay, it is money demanded based on entrapment. The owner buys the property, he/she is trapped they therefore end up at the mercy of the local council. A bit like someone hooked on drugs or someone hooked into a loan shark, it is exactly the same mentality those people are at the mersey of the loan shark or dealer. Council tax is a racket and they collect with exactly the same mentality.

    Look at the facts, council tax goes up every year, every year the bill ( not invoice ) lands on your door step. You have not purchased anything, yet they want money from you. The amount demanded you are ordered to pay when they want it, you have no right to question the amount. If you don't pay you end up with thugs at your door issuing threats and intimidation. ( see youtube council tax) there is endless proof of this, plus the liability order fiddle on ( you tube ) etc.

    I say councils waste the money they collected by force because, we all know most council could operate on a third of the staff than they actually do.

    Where does the money go? First and foremost they feather their own nests.

    All local councils have at least three times more staff than they need. They all have endless directors paid six figure sums per year. The directors do little or nothing for their money. Add in the CEO at the top pocketing hundreds of thousand plus they all get very fat pensions, fat expenses etc etc. Add in early retirement fiddles and goodness knows what else on top. Don't forget each one of these directors & CEO will have an entourage of helpers and PA's. Go below that lot and there are thousand of managers and so on and so on.

    Retirement fiddles: just one fiddle that was reported on BBC news during Gordon Browns time was where council CEO's were getting pay off's of up to half a million a year each before moving to another local council to be CEO.

    So who comes first with local councils? in my opinion its not those forced to fund it.

    If anything councils should be seen for what they are, which are badly run totally inefficient self-serving corporations. They all should be drastically trimmed down, but above all they should operate in the open market and sell the service they say they provide, at a competitive rate with the consumer having the right to with hold payment for non delivery or ultimately look around for an alternative supplier, end of story.

    The day of demand, intimidate etc etc. should be a thing of the past. The sooner the better I say then maybe we could get back to an English mans home being once again his castle.

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • Aitken B
    Love rating 146
    Aitken B said

    Any suggestion that this is to persuade 2nd home owners to sell up is just ludicrous. While I accept there is a problem of 2nd home owners pricing local people out of the housing market, anyone who believes that someone who can afford a second home will be persuaded to sell and at a hugely reduced price because the Council Tax has been hiked by 10% is living in cloud cuckoo land.

    The problem of people buying up 2nd homes in popular holiday areas, such as Cornwall, has been a problem for a very long time. Cornwall County Council has had plenty of time to take this action against 2nd home owners but has failed so to do until now when we have a finance crisis.

    This is a money grab pure and simple.

    Whether or not paying full TAX for a 2nd home is fair is another matter. Basically council tax is not fair.

    Local councils spend money on behalf of local people to deliver services that local people want or need. Houses do not use services, people do. Local government funding is only assessed on property because it is easy and government, local and central, are too lazy to develop a fair system. Houses are there, they don't move about, they can be seen and counted and assessed.

    Local government funding should be levied on people and should reflect the cost of the properly managed services delivered. The last attempt at that was the Community Charge, popularly known as the Poll Tax. Many people objected to the Poll Tax but it is my view that they were largely those who had been free-loading on the backs of property owners but now found they would have to pay for what they received. I am sure there were anomalies in the Poll Tax, there are in all such systems but no-one has been able to explain to me what was basically wrong with it.

    So if we go back to the Cornwall situation, the amount of the charge should be directly related to the services used. If they insist in retaining the flawed property based system, if 2nd home owners use fewer services they should have to pay less. Of course that principle should also apply to 1st home owners/renters who live there permanently.

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  2 loves
  • Trevor D
    Love rating 9
    Trevor D said

    Most taxes have an irrational element, and council tax is perhaps the most irrational tax of all. However, in a funny way it is relatively fair, and has a currently fashionable wealth tax effect. The main alternative suggested would be a local income tax, but how would the owners of second homes feel about paying this in two areas at the same time.

    A local authority has to raise money, and something that is proportional to the number of residences in the area seems reasonable. I see no logical reason for a discount for second home owners, the roads have still to be maintained, children still have to be educated. dustbins still have to be emptied. And when one purchases a second home, one is aware of the situation concerning council tax, and presumably is taken into account!

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • SuttonW
    Love rating 7
    SuttonW said

    Back in the '80s, my wife and I had to pay DOUBLE council tax (it was called poll tax then) on her parents house when they died and she inherited. It was deemed (reasonably) that we owned two homes. It took 4 years to sell, the value fell by 40% but we had to pay inheritance tax on the original value. The council (Barnet) provided NO services for that house.

    I therefore have NO sympathy for people who have a second home just to occupy it for a few weeks in the summer and expect not to pay council tax. The number of empty properties is a disgrace. Anything the council can do to encourage occupation should be applauded.

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  3 loves
  • somean49
    Love rating 6
    somean49 said

    The plain fact is that all government wastes money in someone's opinion. Central government priorities are questionable whichever party is in power (nuclear submarines anyone? Oh yeah they "create" jobs etc etc) Local government is frequently a stitch up on some old boys network, either trades unions or Freemasons Until a government at some future point grows a pair of cojones and devotes some real effort to rationalising the tax system top to bottom, these debates are doomed to be sterile rants. A good example is the present furore over tax avoidance. A High Court judge in the 1930s expressed his opinion that it was a man's duty, NB, duty, not to pay more tax than is necessary. Tax evasion is and should always be a crime. Tax avoidance is not only legitimate but desirable if it keeps wealth in the hands of its creator. If any government wanted to, it could sit down with its highly paid lawyers and highly qualified accountants to work out how to close the loopholes without damaging anyone's legitimate interests.

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • chewson
    Love rating 2
    chewson said

    Firstly, "allday" should have had a penalty clause in place on his builder to pay for any losses that he would have incurred by late delivery.

    Secondly, "fender" must expect to pay for services he receives; the fact that he feels councils are spending taxes "unwisely" is a completely separate issue and needs to be addressed accordingly.

    Thirdly, I don't think for one minute that Cornwall Council ever considered that 2nd homeowners would give up their homes because of the slight increase in tax; perhaps they would consider it if asked to pay ten fold tax.

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  2 loves
  • fender
    Love rating 27
    fender said


    You must live in a blinkered world. If you read what I say, I make clear, I don't mind paying for what I want. However I object to what basically are a bunch of benefit cheat's living the high life on my money ( local councils money collectors ) demanding money from me for a service they claim to provide, thats irrespective of if I do, or if I don't want to purchase that service. I am forced all but at gun point to hand the money over. Therefore it is legalised extortion, there is no other name for it.

    Imagine being forced to pay TESCO a £50 a week royalty irrespective of the fact you might always do your shopping in ASDA. Would you pay up?

    The fact is there are others who can provide the service ( as they call it ) which local councils claim to provide. We the end user should be given the right to choose who at the best commercial price, we want to supply us with that service before we pay for it.

    Until that happens we will always have the scenario where local councils can waste at will because they know they ultimately, they and their gang of henchmen alone will always have the power and upper hand to demand with menaces if necessary, more & more money from those in their grip. Like I said they are in my opinion just like loan sharks and drug dealers because once your in their grip they make sure there is all but no escape. The whole system is corrupt and rigged up to be one sided, it needs to change and the sooner the better.

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    The Community Charge or Poll Tax would be the fairest way to ensure that people paid proportionately for the services they use, but of course the pond life didn't like it. My local council is rotten to the core with 'family and friend' connections in senior posts and handing out contracts to those who are in the same 'club'. I was unaware that Corwall was actually a COUNTRY, but as regards counties, Kirklees stopped second home discounts some years ago, so the whole premise of the article is wrong.

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  2 loves
  • muira
    Love rating 30
    muira said

    my work takes me into all kinds of property''s..

    had quite a shock when i recently visited my own council office hq

    four long floors of centrally heated fully lit,carpeted,exoticplanted etc

    computer monitors left on, some attended ,some not..reception staff various

    function suites,board rooms,catering facilities,cleaners etc etc..

    no wonder councils need extra funding..shame it is'nt going on productive staff actually

    getting their hands dirty in the community,,instead of trying to look important in their

    penthouse flat style setting..with a (hold a meeting,the practical solution to actually working) itinary..

    fender you probably don't realise how accurate your views are!!!

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  2 loves
  • fender
    Love rating 27
    fender said


    Thanks for you quote. What we need now in my opinion is, more people exposing the truth about local council waste. Better still the majority should vote with their feet stand up to local extortion and refuse to pay until a fair for all, rather than the few, method of purchasing the service local councils claim to flog ( currently by force ) is found.

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • Ginnymay
    Love rating 39
    Ginnymay said

    Allday, fyi, Wales has just decided that homes unoccupied for more than a year will may 50% more tax, so this will hit 2nd homes any time now. I feel this is extortion; charge the same if they must, though the elements of the tax which supply rubbish removal, schools, roads etc are not being used by owners of property which is empty. I don't see why I should subsidise others, I pay for those services when I use them where I live. My late father's house has been empty for longer than that, the market is not moving at all, and as the Welsh Assembly Government have just given preference to newbuilds by guaranteeing mortgages on them, but not older property, it's only going to get worse. I am feeling VERY hard done by!

    Report on 25 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  2 loves
  • muira
    Love rating 30
    muira said


    the same council aforementioned recently had a individual parading with a sandwich board for months outside..which had a message "corrupt council" emblazoned upon it

    suspect his protest was futile,but you have to admire his determination..

    what we really need is people leaving school at 15 and going into productive work

    not this culture of going to college/university etc to get well paid non productive work at say 25+ ,

    already 10 years down on pension subscriptions,thousands in debt through loans etc

    need to build factories,and take on apprentices,to learn a job whilst being paid..

    not being taught supposed skills that are probably oversubscribed and have no relevance to job they eventually manage to slip into,because they have a healthy wad of diplomas in some ology

    but unfortunately the political parties are made up of the same mentality..and they will always feather their own nests

    so the revolution is a long way off yet,,mind you the greeks and spanish are giving it a go!!

    power to the people citizen..

    Report on 25 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    We DON'T need to build factories. We have plenty of manufacturers with under-used machines and the simple productivity option is to run 24/7 with three shifts as LandRover have recently started. What we do need are simplified systems for employers to take on workers and not pay them the earth while training. There needs to be job protection for established workers, but there is so much stupid legislation in place now that smaller companies think more than twice about employing new staff.

    Report on 25 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • muira
    Love rating 30
    muira said

    well if we don't need to build factories,we certainly don't need to build offices!

    land rover probably need 3 shifts because the reliability record is the poorest of all

    i have one of their jaguar products,and far from impressed..

    the gov't could remove the tax on employers,many would love to expand

    never heard of an apprentice paid the earth,i never was!

    unions protect established workers,or at least try,,but yes legislation is stupid

    generated by aforementioned so called qualified knowledgable people

    Report on 26 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    LandRover need three shifts because they can sell more they can build and whilst the vehicles don't impress me I haven't heard anything good about recent top model Mercedes or BMW's either. All modern executive cars are too damn complicated.

    Report on 26 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • muira
    Love rating 30
    muira said

    suspect they need 3 shifts to try and correct the problems in the assembly process

    possibly down to not having enough productive staff,due to the gov't making it hard work for the company to hire them for their new range rover

    which looks like the old range rover,but has somehow encountered a height restriction and lost

    all cars are too damn complicated,need a computer to diagnose the problem

    i was quoted £50 per half hour,for their computer to re-programme the on board computer,to increase fuel injection it might start better from warm..

    Report on 26 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • fender
    Love rating 27
    fender said

    Remember Camerons headline, " we are all in this together" not sure what he mean't by that but anyway!!!!

    I wonder if the Royals even know what council tax is? if so, will they be asked to pay from their own pockets and purses the full amount of council tax ( based on an inflated valuations like the rest of us are forced to accept ) on all their palaces and second homes.

    When I say them, I mean just that " them " not, the tax payer who pay for everything else, topping up their yearly pay packet to cover any inflated charges imposed by Cameron and his henchmen..

    Then What about Cameron and his entourage of Ministers, will they be paying the extra or, have they ever had to pay the council tax on all their state paid for London pads and country houses? Or are the rules conveniently rigged up to make Cameron and his mates except? What about speaker Berkow? the man who while the country is supposed to be skint, wasted 25k of tax payers money on new wall paper & tarting up his free state paid for pad, will he be paying the full council tax or, will his mate Borris be turning a blind eye or has the computer already been rigged to make sure all Borris's mates don't get a bill?

    Come on Mr Cameron put your hand in your pocket after all it was you who said,

    " we are all in this together " did you mean it? or, was it just more spin?

    Report on 26 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • muira
    Love rating 30
    muira said

    well the royals and some politicians have a cunning plan regarding council tax

    they simply just say the palaces, no 10 and 11 downing st,chequers etc

    belong to the nation, not them..and they need them to fulfill their duties

    just considering whether to put a guard in a whopping great furry hat in a cramped garden shed with no door..or a copper with a boob shaped style helmet

    outside my front door, and go and cut some ribbons,pull some curtains open,have a chat with unclothed jungle dwellers,

    pretend to jokingly nearly chop someones head off with big sword,whilst they grovel at my feet..

    or lean on a desk, argue a lot ,blame previous lean on desk types for the mess were in,claim expenses for pads i don't use,duck ponds i don't have,transport i dont use,,dictate to the electorate,how great i am,and only i can save you all from doom

    to see if i can become exempt from said council tax,,because my dwelling will belong to the nation,when i am admitted to the twilight home for the disallusioned..

    we can't beat them,may as well join them in it together..

    Report on 27 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • Talent
    Love rating 79
    Talent said

    If you can afford a second home then you can afford to pay the consequences.

    If you don't like the way the country is run.... get political.

    One thing is for sure, you will always be glad you was born English!

    Report on 29 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • fender
    Love rating 27
    fender said


    Get real, It has nothing to do with being able to afford a second home or anything else. The principle is about local regimes that waste money hand over fist looking for ways to extort even more out of its captives so they end up with even more to waste. If they want to start extorting money out of people with second homes then start with their mates like Cameron and the royals that should keep the busy for a while.

    Really the only people who normally think like you are those who live on benefits and get everything free!!!

    Report on 30 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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