Owners of some empty houses in East Yorkshire face council tax bills of over £5,000

There are 445 homes that have been empty for two years or more in the East Riding Generic pic: PA Wire/PA Images
There are 445 homes that have been empty for two years or more in the East Riding Generic pic: PA Wire/PA Images
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East Riding Council is looking to hike council tax for owners of houses that have been empty for five years or more.

Councillors meet next week to discuss the proposals which will affect 163 homes in East Yorkshire, whose owners could end up paying a 200 per cent council tax premium.

That means the owner of a Band D property would have to pay an extra £3,615 on top of the standard charge from April 2020, making a total bill of £5,422.

Homes which have stood empty for more than two years already have to pay a 100 per cent premium.

The 100 per cent premium introduced in April raised £500,000 and saw a 13 per cent reduction in the number of empty homes, down from 512 to 445.

A report to councillors said the 200 per cent premium would “continue to provide a greater incentive for owners of long term empty properties to either find tenants or dispose of the properties, thereby increasing the supply of housing within the East Riding”.

Meanwhile special constables living in the East Riding could get a council tax discount worth hundreds of pounds as part of efforts to drive up numbers.

The move to offer a discount to special constables follows an approach to East Riding Council by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside.

The number of special constables has fallen from around 200 three years ago to 140 now, with many transferring to become regular officers, as their numbers have risen.

The volunteers have the same powers as regular officers, wear the same uniform and are issued with the same protective equipment, including handcuffs and an Asp baton.

Humberside Police hopes to boost the number of special constables to around 250 over the next three years.

Special constables living in Hull and North East Lincolnshire already get a discount.

A report, due to be discussed by East Riding Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, suggests that recruitment and retention of the volunteers could be supported by giving a 25 per cent discount (£450 for a Band D property) to a household where there is one special constable and 50 per cent where there are two.

Around 29 special constables live in the East Riding.

Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter said the discount should be considered as a “reward for community service”. He said: “I am pleased East Riding Council is to consider a council tax discount for special constables – similar schemes have already operated in other council areas for some years.

“Special constables are motivated by a strong desire to serve their community by volunteering their time to be trained and work alongside regular officers to keep the public safe.

“A reduction in their council tax should be viewed as a reward for that community service and not an incentive to join the police.”

The current average Band D council tax is £1,807.55 for this financial year, including fire, police and average town/parish council amounts.

No recommendations have yet been made to members on next year's council tax amount.