Rates on Empty Properties
In February 2012 Labour finance spokesman Sam Corcoran proposed that Cheshire East Council should remove all rates exemptions for empty properties. This proposal was implemented from April 2013 and the effects of the change have just been reported in the mid–year outturn report of Cheshire East Council.
Cheshire East Council used to grant exemptions from rates to owners of over 2,000 empty properties. At the same time many families struggle to find a home. The removal of these exemptions is expected to raise £2.5m for the council and there has been an 11% decrease in the number of empty properties in the last 12 months.
Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East, said, “I am delighted to have worked with council officers to implement and monitor the impact of these proposals. It seemed crazy that the council was giving financial incentives to keep properties empty at a time when there is a housing shortage. The new policy has increased income for the council, reduced the number of empty properties and has simplified the system thus reducing administration costs. It is a win all round.”
Cllr Laura Jeuda, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield South, said, “The government is forcing councils to allow house building on green fields to alleviate the housing shortage. If we can bring more empty properties back into use then that reduces the need for housing on greenfield sites. It is good to see that the new policy is working.”