Council tax hike proposed in bid to free up empty homes across Dudley
Council tax could increase by an eye-watering 400 per cent on empty homes across Dudley.
Council bosses have put forward the plans to increase the Empty Homes Premium in a bid to free much-needed houses in the borough.
Homes which have been empty for between five and 10 years face an increase of up to 300 per cent from April 1 next year.
And houses which have not been used for 10 years or more will see a 400 per cent increase in the council tax charges from April 1, 2021.
Bosses say the move, through Dudley Council's empty homes strategy, will "incentivise" bringing homes back into use – and create increased revenue for the council, which has dipped into financial reserves.
A report said: "It is now proposed this will be utilised in order to incentivise the bringing back into use of some of the borough’s housing stock in line with the council's Empty Homes Strategy."
External auditors Grant Thornton had urged the authority to look at options to increase its income – including the rise in council tax.
It comes after Dudley Council was expected to use £4.9 million for its 2019/2020 budget, instead forking out £5.2m.
A report, as part of the authority's Medium Term Financial Strategy for 2022/2023, said: "This continues to show a low level of reserves in the light of the financial challenges that the council faces.
"Directorates will make every effort – through spending restraint, generation of additional income and review of earmarked reserves – to improve on the position set out above."
Council bosses, as part of the Homeless Prevention Strategy for 2019-2021, highlighted a need to bring 52 empty homes back into use per year.
Figure from April last year revealed Dudley Council has 387 empty homes out of 21,950.