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Council Tax reduction scheme supports low-paid workers and helps to tackle empty properties

News release from 04/03/2019

CAMBRIDGE City Council has renewed its commitment to helping people on low incomes and other vulnerable people, through its Council Tax reduction scheme for 2019-20.

The scheme provides a reduction on Council Tax bills to people who are in work but on low income, and currently assists 1,879 households including 3,741 children. It also ensures that young people aged under 25 who have left care are protected and receive the support they need.

The council is one of only 37 local authorities in the UK which continues to provide this financial support based on the whole council tax.

To encourage owners to bring empty properties back in to use, a Council Tax premium of 50% is being charged to the owners of unfurnished homes that have been left empty for two years or more. From April, it is proposed to increase this charge to 100%.

There are currently 66 homes in the city which are known to have been left empty for more than two years. The council has attempted to engage with the owners of all these properties to encourage occupation.

The Council Tax premium on properties left empty for over five years is proposed to be increased to 200% from April 2020, with a further increase to 300% from 2021 for properties empty for more than 10 years.

Cllr Richard Robertson, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, said: “We are committed to supporting the most vulnerable people in Cambridge and to help as many people as possible stay in work so they and their families can thrive, in a city which can be expensive for many.

“Our Council Tax reduction scheme will directly help workers in the city on low incomes, and their families, who have to contend with stagnant wages, rising living costs and welfare reforms.

“The scheme for charging premiums forms an important part of our ongoing work to bring properties that have been empty for a long time back into use as much-needed homes for people.”