Owners of second homes in Wirral are set to see their Council Tax double in 2025.
A policy is expected to be approved by Wirral councillors on 17 January which will see those who own homes that are “furnished and not occupied as someone’s sole or main residence” charged twice as much Council Tax. This is expected to generate an additional £0.92m for Wirral Council from April 2025.
It was previously approved by councillors in 2023 as part of the Wirral Council’s budget discussions for the current financial year between April 2023 to March 2024. This was due to come into force in April 2024 bringing in just over £1m.
However, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which gave councils the power to increase Council Tax on second homes passed later than expected in October 2023. 12 months’ notice has to be given by Wirral Council to homeowners and as council tax can’t be changed during a financial year, the policy has been pushed back a year.
If approved again by councillors, second homes owners in Wirral will see their council tax double in April 2025 but the policy is expected to bring in £142,000 less than previous estimates.
When the charges on second homes were first approved on 18 January 2023, concerns were raised by councillor Jenny Johnson about the rationale for the policy as well as communication with home owners. She added, “What business has the council got to do this? I don’t quite understand why the council should wade in in this particular situation, a private homes situation.”
In response, then-council leader Janette Williamson pointed out it was a government policy, adding, “The rationale for me would be we have got a housing crisis and we’ve got all these properties sitting empty.
“My recollection is that if it’s individuals have specific circumstances that their property has just gone over that mark but there’s a good reason why, we’re always open to discussion and discretion.”
Image: Tierra Mallorca