People with second homes by the sea will have to pay more council tax next year, it has been confirmed.

Brighton and Hove City Council's policy committee has decided to reduce the discount for more than 2,500 property owners from 50 to ten per cent.

It will abolish discounts altogether on more than 1,000 long-term empty homes.

The move, which will bring in an extra £1 million, was agreed with all-party backing.

Finance councillor Simon Burgess said the extra income would be welcome for the hard-pressed authority, which is likely to levy a 16.5 per cent council tax increase in the spring.

But he stressed: "We are not being vindictive against the owners of second homes."

He said he hoped some of them would come on to the market to help ease the housing shortage.

Thursday December 11, 2003