A plan to raise around £12 million extra in council tax in Herefordshire will have to wait another year.

Herefordshire Council agreed a year ago to make soonest possible use of new powers to levy double council tax on properties vacant for between one and two years, as well as on second homes in the county.

The move gained cross-party support but depended on the government first bringing in enabling legislation.


Given subsequent delays in the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act, which finally passed into law in October, “the earliest that such a change could be implemented is April 2025”, a council spokesperson has now said.

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The 2021 census showed Herefordshire had 4,860 vacant homes and 515 second homes with no usual residents.

Welsh local authorities have been able to charge double council tax on long-term empty and second homes since 2017, and since last April can charge up to a fourfold premium on such properties should they choose to.

In practice the highest premium currently charged is 150 per cent, or 2.5 times the standard council tax rate, in scenic Gwynedd, which has around 23,000 second homes.