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Suffolk Coastal Liberal Democrats

Local and regional news

  • Empty Homes
    Article: Dec 12, 2018

    NEW COUNCIL TAX MUST BE USED TO BRING EMPTY HOMES BACK INTO USE
    New rules brought in by the Government last month have given councils the powers to ramp up the Council Tax on homes which have been empty for more than two years. It is increasingly felt that substantially increasing Council Tax will hopefully encourage owners to either bring the properties up to date and into use, or sell them if they cannot afford any necessary repairs and renovations.

    Under the change in the law which came into force on 1st November, councils will be able to charge more council tax for long term empty properties. Currently, it is believed there are 200,000 properties standing empty in England.

    There is a national housing crisis with 1.6 million families on waiting lists for what was used to call council housing however the future East Suffolk District Council is proposing to add just 50% to the full charge for properties empty for 2 years or more but only after 2 years.

    Compare this with Teignbridge in Devon where there is a proposal for a Quadruple Council Tax levied on long-term empty homes. Teignbridge proposals include doubling Council Tax from next April for homes empty for more than two years. In 2020, that would rise to triple council tax for homes empty more than five years and from 2021, homes left vacant for more than 10 years would pay four times the standard Council Tax rate for the property. Some exemptions from the new rules would apply. In cases where the person is the sole or main resident in armed forces accommodation they would not be charged extra.

    "Under schemes run by councils like Teignbridge, help and support can be provided to bring houses back into use and lift the burden the owners' shoulders. 'Sometimes people inherit a property and may not be in a position to manage it. said Lib Dem Councillor Connett. An extra £68,500 next year, rising to £153,600 in three years time could be raised in Teignbridge who would in turn would keep around 10 per cent of the extra money it collected. "Personally, I would like to see any extra money from the empty homes Council Tax put into local housing support services such as tackling homelessness and bringing empty homes back into use" said Cllr Connett.

    Against this background apparently the joint authority meeting of East Suffolk DC recently passed the following policy regarding Council Tax as follows

    Empty and unfurnished properties 100% discount for two weeks then full payment

    Empty and uninhabitable properties 25% discount for 12 months then full payment

    Long term empty more than 6 months and less than 2 years 100% charge no discount

    Long term empty 2 years or more additional 50% added after 2 years

    Second homes no discount 100% charge

    EMPTY PROPERTIES NOTES

    1. Since 1 April 2013, local authorities in England have been able to charge a premium of 50% on the full council tax charge, and that a further change to the law has now been made to allow councils to raise this premium.
    2. The legislation allowing this to happen became law on 1 November 2018 and is contained in the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018. A key intention of this is to encourage owners of empty properties to bring their properties back into use.
    3. Empty properties attract squatters, vandalism and anti-social behaviour; can be a blight on the local community; and can affect the value of the properties around them.
    4. 1.6 million households are on social housing waiting lists, long-term empty properties are a wasted resource.
    5. An empty property for council tax purpose is defined as a property that is 'unoccupied and substantially unfurnished'.
    6. Currently there are just over 200,000 long-term empty dwellings in England compared to 300,000 in 2010. The number has reduced since 2013, when councils were given powers to charge a 50% premium under the Coalition Government - so applying a premium has been a successful incentive in tackling empty homes.
    7. The law introduced incremental increases that can be applied to reflect the length of time that properties have been empty. From April 2019 properties that have been empty for more than 2 years can be charged a 100% council tax premium. By April 2021, properties empty for more than 10 years will be liable for a 300% council tax premium.

    END

  • Brexit banners (East Suffolk Lib Dems)
    Article: Dec 10, 2018

    THE LIB DEMS STEP UP THEIR CAMPAIGN FOR A PEOPLES VOTE ACROSS THE REGION

    As the shambolic negotiations by HM Government reach a crisis point and businesses pull their hair out in utter desperation at further vacillation by a Prime Minister out of control, 54% of people* said that they would stay in the EU if the 2016 Referendum were held now.. the Liberal Democrats step up their campaign for a People's Vote with Action Days and Roadside Banners across Suffolk and the Region.

  • Human Rights Day
    Article: Dec 7, 2018

    HUMAN RIGHTS DAY IS ON MONDAY 10TH DECEMBER

    Human Rights Day is 10th December 2018 and this year is the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    As Lib Dems we know that we have to be vigilant to ensure that our own human rights are not put at risk and we know there's still a way to go to get many countries to comply with the vital charter.

  • Nursing home Norway Bjørkan CC BY-SA 3.0 (Thomas Bjørkan CC BY-SA 3.0)
    Article: Dec 4, 2018

    Our experience as carers looking after a family member in Suffolk

    Following our recent feature on the Carer's Rights Day at the end of November we received the following response from one of our readers...

    "No matter how many carers rights days or other days, the role of the family carer is totally mis-understood, underfunded and in general ignored by the government. This is particularly so when the person cared for has mental health problems.

  • SUFFOLK EU ALL LOGO (SUFFOLK EU ALLIANCE)
    Article: Dec 3, 2018

    Day of Action - Suffolk Events

    People's Vote Day of Action - Ipswich Street Stall

    The People's Vote have called for an Action Day on Saturday 8th December & the Suffolk EU Alliance are in Ipswich doing our (cross party) bit to support remaining in the EU.

    Last week, Theresa May said the country faces three choices: Her deal, no deal, or no Brexit. Even her own ex-Brexit Minister has said No Brexit is better than her deal! Now, with the first vote on the deal imminent in Parliament, we need to be out promoting "No Brexit" via a People's Vote. We've already seen independent economic forecasts which show that the government's deal will leave us poorer, with less money for our public services.

  • Holly Berries 2016
    Article: Dec 2, 2018

    A Message to Theresa May - 'You are in a hole so please stop digging!'

    By Jon James

    Dear Prime Minister

    No amount of arm twisting by your Government's Whips or promises of honours to wavering Tory MPs is going to change the way that parliament votes on December 11th. Almost a third of your MPs are planning to vote down 'your deal', two of your appointees handling the negotiations have already resigned along with several other members of your government; your party is in turmoil. The unedifying internal domestic disputes over Europe which have plagued your Party for decades continue to play out in public. Your Party's survival should not be your overriding concern at a time of national crisis. As you must have heard on your flying visits, the country at large is in danger of becoming so battle weary after over two years of these shambolic negotiations to listen to any of the counter arguments.

  • Houses of parliament & Westminster Bridge
    Article: Dec 1, 2018

    Give us a real debate

    A debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn would be a debate between two cosy Brexiters.

    The public deserve to hear all the options on Brexit. Giving the people the final say, including the option to remain, is the only real alternative to the national embarrassment of Brexit.

    We need to pressure the BBC and ITV to include the Liberal Democrats in any debate to put the case for giving the people the final say on Brexit.

    Find out how here:

    Step 1: Tweet the broadcasters

    Tweet ITV & BBC now

  • World Aids Day
    Article: Nov 26, 2018

    World Aids Day

    On Saturday 1st December millions of people, internationally, will be supporting the 30th Anniversary of World AIDS Day.

    Globally, 35 million people have died from HIV and AIDS and there are still around 36.7 million people living with HIV. There has been a fall in the number of diagnoses in the UK, however it is vital that we all remain vigilant and keep awareness of the stigmas and discrimination that are still around and show our commitment to stamping out AIDS for good!

  • CARERS RIGHTS DAY
    Article: Nov 23, 2018

    CARERS RIGHTS DAY - 30TH NOVEMBER

    This year, Carers Rights Day takes place on Friday 30 November. The day brings organisations together from across the UK, helping carers know their rights and get the help and support they deserve. It does this whilst raising awareness for carers across the UK and the vital contributions that they make.

  • slot machs Las VegasCC Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 Yamaguchi先生 (CC Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 Yamaguchi先生)
    Article: Nov 22, 2018

    LIB DEMS WELCOME U-TURN OVER FIXED ODDS BETTING TERMINALS - (FOBTs)

    The Government has been forced into an embarrassing climbdown as ministers announced they would bring forward curbs to tackle highly addictive fixed-odd betting terminals in the face of considerable opposition from MPs and campaigners.