Thursday, 25 November 2010

Ministers to look at proposal to make second home owners pay full council tax

Ministers have pledged to look at proposals to make second home owners pay full council tax. The issue was raised by Lib Dem MP Tim Farron in the House of Commons this morning.

Second home owners currently pay a maximum of 90% of the full rate of council tax - a discount which particularly affects areas with high numbers of second homes such as Cornwall.

The first impact is obviously the financial loss. With around one in twenty properties in Cornwall being second homes, the 10% discount means that many millions of pounds of potential income is not helping to provide for services such as libraries, adult care and leisure.

The second impact is that, by effectively giving a subsidy to second home owners, it makes ownership more attractive. In turn this leads to large concentrations of second homes in some coastal villages. With low occupation rates for much of the year, the village as a whole suffers as house prices rise and shops and local facilities close.

Of course there is a vast difference between promising to look at a proposal and actually implementing it, but congratulations to Tim for securing the promise.

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