Cumbria Crack

MP secures promise from minister to close second homes tax loophole

Tim Farron MP with housing minister Kit Malthouse

Local MP Tim Farron has secured a promise from the Government that they are planning to close a loophole which lets second home owners get away with paying no council tax.

During a meeting with Tim in Westminster, the housing minister Kit Malthouse confirmed that he is planning on strengthening laws to ensure that second home owners are properly contributing towards the local economy.

Currently, second home owners are able to get away with paying no council tax if they declare their home as being let for holiday use and register it as a business.

The minister told Tim that they hope to bring the law in England into line with that in Wales, where a property needs to have been let out for 70 days per year in order to qualify as a business.

Tim also raised his idea of changing the law so that turning a first home into a second home should require planning permission, so local councils are able to reject anyone seeking permission in a community that is already under pressure from excessive second home ownership.

On top of this, Tim raised the case for local authorities to be given the power to double council tax on second homes to disincentivise absentee ownership and raise funds to subsidise at-risk local services.

In response the minister calculated that such a move would raise around three quarters of a million pounds by doubling the council tax on second homes in the village of Coniston alone, and would go away and look more closely at the idea.

Tim suggested to the minister that either the Lake District National Park or Yorkshire Dales National Park would work as good pilots to test out the tax rise.

Tim said: “I’m delighted that the Government are set to close this tax loophole.

“Every time this loophole is exploited, and second home owners avoid paying council tax, it becomes more and more likely that key public services, whether it be the local post office, bus service or village school will no longer be viable.

“This is a positive step forward in our campaign, and I’m determined to keep on fighting to hold back the tide of excessive second home ownership turning our local communities into ghost villages.”

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