Cornwall Council has welcomed news that local authorities will be allowed to charge double council tax on empty properties in the county.

Phillip Hammond outlined in his budget that, as of April 2018, local authorities will be permitted to charge 100% council tax on properties that have been empty for two or more years.

There are exceptions to the rule, such as: properties that are up for sale, an annex to another property or properties belonging to those in the armed forces.

Andrew Mitchell, Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes, said: “Tackling the issue of empty homes is a priority for this council to help increase housing supply.

“There is a shortage of housing in Cornwall and we need to do all we can to put pressure on home owners to bring empty properties back into use.”

Mitchell added that the announcement gave local authorities the “power to increase taxes on vacant houses and flats to dissuade property investors from allowing homes to sit empty while many struggle to find somewhere to live.”

The additional premium is expected to raise around £0.7m to reinvest in services around the county, with there currently being 1,032 properties in Cornwall that would qualify for the increase in tax.