Calls to ‘bin the brown bin charge’ in Suffolk Coastal - and double tax on second homeowners
A Suffolk councillor has called for controversial proposals to charge for brown bin collections to be scrapped – and to double the tax on second homes instead.
Christopher Hudson who represents Framlingham at Suffolk Coastal District Council, said “hard pressed” residents could not afford the extra charge.
“Let’s bin the brown bin charge,” he said. “It seems this new tax has been presented as a fait accompli. If we think about it, I’m sure we can defer some costs.”
His comments come after SCDC said it was reviewing its position on brown bin collections to fill a £200,000 budget gap.
Officers are recommending a £43 charge be introduced next financial year, which would be in line with those imposed by other councils.
However Mr Hudson suggests a different approach – highlighting new powers available for councils to charge owners of empty properties a 100% premium on their council tax.
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the new powers in his recent budget.
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SCDC pointed out the 200% council tax is not available until 2019/20 - and would only raise an estimated £10,000 a year.
However, Mr Hudson claims the district’s full-time residents would rather see the charges imposed on wealthy visitors than hard pressed locals.
In other parts of the country, affluent buyers have been accused of inflating property prices and driving local people out.
In St Ives in Cornwall, which has many second homes, a recent referendum saw 80% of people voting in favour of reserving new homes for full-time residents.
Suffolk Coastal also has high numbers of second homes.
In 2015, 2,738 properties in the district were registered as second homes – the largest number in Suffolk.
SCDC leader Ray Herring said brown bin services had been subsidised by ratepayers across the district, not all of whom used the service and so charges were a “fairer” system, which most other councils already used.
While he said the 200% council tax may be examined, it was not currently available and SCDC’s share of any increase would raise only £10,000, whereas the annual budget shortfall for next year was £200,000.
“This is the shortfall we need to meet each year and, as it relates to waste disposal and recycling, it makes sense to join most other councils across Suffolk and Norfolk by raising the money through charging for collecting garden waste,” he added.