Isle of Wight Council cabinet members have approved both the introduction of a second home tax and a revised empty property charge — though a final decision will not be made until later this month.
If approved, second home owners will pay 200 per cent council tax on their second property, from April 2025, as well as council tax on their main property elsewhere.
County Hall says the move could generate an additional £4.2 million per year.
Speaking at a meeting last night (Thursday), Cllr Ian Stephens, cabinet member for finance, said it would be ‘rather churlish’ to miss an opportunity to hike the fees, given the council is calling for more money from the government.
Cllr Stephens said he didn’t feel the charge was outlandish and called it an opportunity, passed down by the government in its Levelling up and Regeneration Bill.
Cllr Julie Jones-Evans, cabinet member for regeneration and business development, said the premium would drive for a sustainable economy while the council waits for proper funding and said County Hall had no choice.
Cllr Jonathan Bacon said, while it is recognised second home owners do contribute to the Island’s economy, in areas where there are lots of second homes it causes a big issue and impacts the availability of local accommodation.
Exemptions to the council tax hike are being finalised by the government.
Meanwhile, charges for empty properties could now kick in after one year, not two, subject to a final decision later this month.
The council has written to the owners of empty Island homes, offering advice and guidance, said Cllr Stephens, but without much success.
The empty property tax could make an additional £88,860 a year.
Full Council will make the final decision on February 28.