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MP holds productive meeting with minister over closure of second homes tax loophole

February 18, 2019 1:18 PM

Tim with housing minister Kit Malthouse

Local MP Tim Farron has hailed a productive meeting with the housing minister Kit Malthouse as part of his campaign to limit the effects of excessive second home ownership in the South Lakes.

During the meeting, the minister said that he shared Tim's concern about the tax loophole which is currently letting second home owners avoid paying any council tax.

The Government has just completed a consultation on the idea and is currently deciding on its next steps.

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.

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 said he 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 had a very productive meeting with the minister over the tax loophole. I will keep up the pressure for the Government to act over the coming months.

"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."