Council backs second home benefits cut

Town Hall
Town Hall

Controversial plans to scrap the second home benefits for people who own holiday homes in the town have been defended by Eastbourne Borough Council.

From April 1 the national system for administering council tax benefit which is funded by the government will be replaced by Local Council Tax Support that the council will now have to meet the cost of.

One of the many changes affects second homes, which are properties owned by people who live somewhere else and only use their second home for occasional visits.

The council has been criticised by people who own holiday homes in the town but live elsewhere in the country.

Ben Rogoff is one of them. He said this week the council was putting people off from buying holiday homes in the town and spending money within the local community.

A council spokesperson said, “The government has cut the funding for council tax support by 10 per cent and put the onus on local authorities to introduce local schemes that must be delivered within the reduced grant.

“The council set up a project team in 2012 to design a local council tax support scheme and to consider how changes to discounts and exemptions could be used to bridge the funding gap.

“The proposals went out to consultation last year and in January 2013 a new Local Council Tax Support Scheme was agreed by Eastbourne Borough Council. One of the many changes affects second homes – properties owned by people who live somewhere else and only use their second home for occasional visits.

“The home owned by Mr Rogoff is classed as a second home. Previously, a 10 per cent reduction on his council tax bill was applicable but from April 1 all second home owners will have to pay the full council tax. All taxpayers affected by the changes have been notified in writing in advance of their annual council tax bill being sent in March.”