Thomas Bridge 29 May 2012

Pickles announces council tax reforms

Reforms could allow authorities to make a yearly £20 council tax reduction for families in England, Eric Pickles has announced.

Government plans to permit town halls to undertake different approaches to taxation, could allow savings to be passed on to residents, particularly those living in band D properties.

Intending to increase the ease at which bills can be paid, residents will be legally allowed the decision to pay their council tax bills in 12 monthly payments across the year, instead of the current system that permits only 10.

The Government is promoting the uptake of electronic billing at councils, supporting the opportunity for savings that such a system can deliver.

Town halls will also be granted greater flexibility to waive special tax relief on second homes and empty properties. While councils will not be required to adopt the changes, the Government expect that this amendment will allow authorities to pass savings on to their local community.

Taxation on solar panels will be prevented while the intrusive installation of such equipment by third parties has been opposed.

Pickles said that the Government’s work to freeze council tax would allow councils to further support their residents, while talks are ongoing to remove obstacles restricting the opportunity for family annexes.

‘These further common sense reforms will help families and pensioners with their cost of living, keeping bills down and making them easier to pay.’

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