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Tax second homeowners not struggling families, MP tells ministers

January 26, 2021 12:40 PM

In Parliament last night, South Lakes MP Tim Farron berated the Government's decision to force councils to hike council tax by up to 5% for struggling families while giving tax breaks to second homeowners.

Tim voted in favour of an opposition motion calling on the Prime Minister to drop plans to force local councils to increase council tax in the middle of a pandemic by providing councils with funding to the meet the Government's promise to do 'whatever is necessary' to support councils.

Speaking during a debate in the House of Commons, Tim said: "It is a choice that the Government have made to increase council tax by 5% and to hit the worst those families who struggle the most, but there are other choices that this Government have made at the same time.

"The stamp duty holiday has given a boost of tens of thousands of pounds to people who want to buy second homes. Therefore, people who are struggling by on the minimum wage, paying a much higher proportion of their salary in council tax now than those who are wealthier, get a hit, yet those who can afford not just one home but two or more get a benefit worth tens of thousands of pounds from this Government, who have chosen to give it to them.

"I suggest to the Minister that there is something better he could do with council tax. In communities such as mine in the Lakes and Dales, where as many as 85% of the properties are second homes - boltholes for folks who are well-off enough mainly to live somewhere else - the impact is colossal.

"Every single one of those homes is sending no child to the local school and providing no demand for the post office or the bus service, and so those services and facilities end up closing, as they have done in many communities in my part of the world.

"Yet there are things the Government could do to ameliorate that. Instead of imposing a huge council tax burden on those who are struggling to pay now, why not increase council tax on those who are well-off enough to have more than one home and recycle that money back into local communities?"