Second Homeowners In Scilly Set To Lose 10% Tax Discount

town hall windows signSecond homeowners in Scilly are losing their 10% discount on council tax rates and will now pay 100%.

Cllr David Pearson claimed it was a difficult decision when many people were using former family homes as second homes and preferred to retain the 90% rate.

He said he was, “in favour of the island economy” and for the “welfare of the islands” and said the Council was supporting an income that already attracted tax.

But Cllr Richard McCarthy wanted to send a message that second homeowners should not be treated separately.

There are 193 second homes in Scilly and the move will increase the Town Hall’s income by £26,000.

Estate Agent Tony Dingley doesn’t think it will concern most second property owners as it will amount to around £120 a year.

There’ll be a 50% council tax reduction for the first year that properties are empty due to major repairs. Cllr Gaz O’Neil favoured no reduction though, claiming that people who could afford building work on their properties could afford to pay the full amount.

Empty properties will also receive a 50% reduction for the first six months, which Richard McCarthy said would help in cases where the resident had deceased and the family was trying to sell the property.

After the 7th month of a building being vacant, there will be no council tax discount. Chief technical officer Neville Gardner questioned whether people could just put up curtains and a chair in an empty home to get around this, but was told the government legislation refers to property that is “substantially unfurnished.”

From 7 to 24 months, empty homes will now pay the full council tax and after 2 years they will pay 150%, as a premium to “encourage people to get a move on.”


17 Responses to Second Homeowners In Scilly Set To Lose 10% Tax Discount

  1. Pat Hicks February 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Sorry for taking so long to reply yet another islander.
    the family had to have a pow wow around the table. could not agree on the best reciepe. but in the end we got there.
    2 said frisky limpet stew, but the rest said limpet with a nice honky dory sauce.. just use any ingrediants you got on hand.. yummy !!
    Enjoy !!

  2. yet another islander February 12, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Post a recipe for them Pat, maybe the Mrs needs to know how to cook ’em!

  3. Pat Hicks February 11, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Yet another inlander. DONT TALK SUCH TOSH..!!


  4. yet another islander February 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    I use an alias, like many others. Maybe it’s got something to do with the climate of fear?

    Tried limpets once but didn’t like them!

  5. Kev Wright February 10, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Yet another islander, (why the alias?) may I also point out that when my son was born the council were unable to house us and so my parents gave up their income from that holiday so we had somewhere to live. Plus that house was a permanent residence which I grew up in and lived until the age of eleven, so it was actually only a holiday let for a few years.

    Perhaps we could convert the hotels and their staff accommodation into local housing and solve the problem once and for all? And then go back to living off limpits?

  6. Kev Wright February 10, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Firstly, the house at Green Farm is Duchy owned and was occupied by tourists (which is what we need!) from March to October and is now a full time residence, and secondly, yes there are people in Scilly with other homes on the islands. These are also generally used as holiday lets. Have you forgotten what our main industry is?! Locals may own houses elsewhere in the UK, that does’t make it a OK, I’m sure local people there who can’t get on the housing ladder are just as disgruntled about the situation.

    It the houses that are empty for all but a handful of weeks a year that are the problem. Not self-catering tourist properties.

  7. yet another islander February 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I quite agree Bill, it’s too easy to forget that some second homes are owned by residents and that many islanders are doing just the same thing elsewhere, moreover erstwhile farm labourers’ tied cottages are now holiday lets taking them out of the housing pool. No doubt Kev will remember that happening at Green Farm, Pelistry.
    Buying homes on Scilly is not easy, I know ‘cos I’ve been there, but it can be done Kev. For my part it took a full time job plus a few part time ones, no kids until I could afford them . The day I moved out of a glorified shed(no council bedsit for me,….what a luxury) into my first small flat my wife and I were overjoyed. It can be done if you’re determined enough.

  8. Bill Hiner February 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    This is a very difficult one to resolve. The hike in tax will be passed on to guests in homes used as holiday lets, and that can’t be good.
    I wonder how many residents here own second homes on the islands, or on the mainland?
    In my experience, house prices are set by estate agents and the local prices, so when talking about houses at 300K and more, what difference will a few quid make? I also fear that blocking second home buyers will need a change in legislation nationally, and as many MPs have second houses, that may not be on the cards!

  9. Kev Wright February 9, 2013 at 7:56 am

    It may not make much difference Bill. But I suspect prices would come down if the houses sold were to be used as a permanent residence only, thus blocking rich people who want somewhere to use in August. The pool of potential buyers would be reduced considerably. Even if they were bought as lets they would be filled from March through to October (with any luck) and the empty winter months when refurbishment is needed would provide valuable work to local builders, carpet fitters, electricians, carpenters, painters and decorators and so on. Cornwall has this problem too, you’re right. And it’s a sorry state of affairs. Maybe more/all houses should be given a 106?

  10. Bill Hiner February 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    What has second home ownership got to do with the lack of affordable houses?
    Market forces drive house costs and sales, not the local ability to pay.
    You buy a house where you can afford to, if ownership is your ideal.

  11. Kev Wright February 8, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Apologies Tony, I misread your comment and see that you have felt unwelcome on certain occasions. I’m very sorry to hear this and it shouldn’t be the case.

  12. Kev Wright February 8, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Yes, I have no problem with “immigrants” coming to live here at all, and no problem with some properties being empty during the winter months because they’re are holiday lets – these are crucial to our industry. But to suggest that second home owners are doing us a favour by paying tax is wrong. If the houses were taken by permanent residents, not only would they be paying 100% council tax but also spending more money in local businesses (several of which have closed in recent years through lack of income) but also potentially supporting other facilities that rely on public payment for use such as the sports hall. It can’t sustain itself if it isn’t used, and if there are less people here then it will get used less. Tony, please don’t take this as a personal attack, it’s not. I know several people who are second home owners or who only spend part of the time here, but your statement about the tax you pay helping the community is a little misguided. These houses wouldn’t be empty if it were not for people like you, they’d become businesses or permanent residents who would generate more for our economy. I’m very glad to hear that you feel welcome here though because as far as I’m concerned you are.

  13. Bill Hiner February 8, 2013 at 8:35 am

    I am not a second-home owner, and have no axe to grind. I believe that some people over here have not paid their Council Tax and the outstanding amount is in excess of 26K. Shouldn’t this be collected before any rises are contemplated?
    As for “affordable housing”-sorry, but unless “young people” can earn enough, it’s just a pipe dream for them. Perhaps those who are desperate to own their own home should widen their search and do what the majority of us have had to do over the years-move to somewhere cheaper?
    Cornwall suffers from a real malaise and that’s low income, and until that is addressed, all property is basically unaffordable to young folk.

  14. Jane Hurd February 7, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Agree with Kev. If people can afford 2 homes, then they can affford to pay full council tax. Visitors use (& are welcome to use) the pool, the library etc while they’re here, but second homeowners benefit potentially from the fire brigade and other services. And at the end of the day,we need young people to be able to have a decent home here to keep the community going. I speak as an “immigrant” of 23 years standing who was fortunate enough to be able to buy a house and move here, & am still working and contributing to the community.

  15. Diane Cidade February 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Tony, I find it unfortunate that you have been made to feel unwelcome to whichever public facility you have tried to make use of. And it’s doubly worrying because the leisure centre and pool rely on uptake from the community. The higher the demand, the better the service will potentially be. It might be that if more people lived here for a majority of the year that these services would get used more, generate more income and be sustainable in the long term.

  16. Kev Wright February 7, 2013 at 9:44 am

    It would also be nice if second homeowners weren’t pushing the price and availability of properties over here up so high that I’ll never be able to afford to buy anywhere. It’s great fun looking out the window of my council bedsit at all the blacked-out empty houses that make up half of the area surrounding me on a winter’s night. What a waste.

  17. Tony Cherry February 7, 2013 at 6:31 am

    I certainly don’t object as it’s one of those things that probably causes more friction than its worth. For the record though, absentee owners are, if £26000 =10%, contributing £260,000 a year to facilities like the pool, the leisure centre, the library etc on which we put no usage demand most of the time. That’s fine, the place wouldn’t be the same if those things weren’t there, but it would be nice if we could be made welcome in public facilities when we do want to use them. It’s not fair to specify, but take it from me, that’s not always the case at present.