Northumberland parish with high proportion of holiday homes cuts budget to reduce burden on full-time residents
A coastal community is trying to alleviate a consequence of having among the highest proportions of holiday homes in the country.
A significant proportion of properties in Beadnell are second or holiday homes with those residents exempt from paying council tax.
Beadnell Parish Council has decided to reduce its budget from £12,500 to £12,000 to reduce the burden on full-time residents who do pay.
Cllr Jen Hall, vice chairman, explained: “In 2015 we had 162 properties which is 22% of the total of the parish registered as holiday home businesses.
"By 2018 that had risen to 198 or 25% of the total properties in the parish.
“And on January 1 last year there were 226 which has gone up to 30%.
"As such they don’t pay council tax and therefore don’t pay any share of the parish precept.
"The share of the parish precept is falling back on the residents and council tax payers are struggling at the moment. There are all sorts of calls on their money so if we can keep the parish precept level at last year’s figure it will help reduce the amount.
"It’s not a large amount, we’re only talking £2-£3 for each house in a Band D but every little helps and I think it also sends out an important message that this is happening in Beadnell.
"It’s happening in Seahouses and I am sure it’s happening in Bamburgh, Holy Island and all the way up and down the coast. The more properties that register for business rates, the fewer there are to pay the parish precept.
"We are trying to do as much as we can to keep the cost down because, year on year, they are having to pay a bigger slice of the cake. The number of people paying council tax is decreasing in this area. It’s a really serious point because we are becoming unsustainable in these parishes.”
Cllr Adrian Baker added: “If we kept the precept the same the individual council tax payers would be getting an increase of 4.8% and that equates to about £500 of our precept. By taking £500 off the precept it removes any increase for our precept payers.
"We’ve had a bit of a bonus from holiday let donations and it’s something we can pass on to the residents.”