Mayor Boris Johnson has called on London’s councils to “whack up” the council tax they charge owners of empty homes.
Speaking on LBC, Mr Johnson said it was “no good” for people to buy homes in desirable areas such as Kensington and Chelsea or Westminster and leave them empty to increase in value “as a sort of bank balance in the sky”.
He added: “What we are saying to councils, who have powers to impose punitive council taxes on such people, is do so. Whack up the council tax.”
London Assembly member Darren Johnson welcomed the Mayor’s call for action but said he needed to “stop supporting rich investors” and start lobbying Ministers to give councils the power to tackle “the scandal” of empty homes.
Assembly member Johnson said ministers should restore the power of councils to seize properties which remain empty and reverse their recent decision to make it harder to raise council tax.