No, higher council tax will not end the ‘scourge’ of second homes nor ’bring life back’ to communities. To paraphrase another (and possibly more effective) Leveller Up, you need to be ‘tough on second homes, tough on the causes of second homes. And the primary causes are City bonuses, which have snuck back in a big way; and the big bucks of private equity, which have made zillionaires of many a bought-out business owner. If you have that much to spend on second, third, and often more homes, extra council tax will deter you no more than the whack of additional stamp duty already payable. Only much more of the tax which dare not speak its name (income) will make a difference. I’d say.
As rehearsed many times, I’ve been a house price doom-monger for many a month. As with those who forever forecast a stock market crash, it was inevitable that I would eventually be right. Stopped clock syndrome and all that.