MP presses minister to give local authorities the power to increase council tax on second homes
Written by John Williamson on 16/05/2018
Yesterday (Tuesday 15th May) in Parliament, local MP Tim Farron pressed the Government to give local authorities the power to raise council tax on second homes.
South Lakeland has one the highest number of second homes in England, leaving local families who grew up here struggling to afford an adequate home.
Liberal Democrats on South Lakeland District Council have reduced the discount on second homes council tax to zero and changed planning rules so that at least a third of new developments are affordable.
Back in March, the local Lib Dem-run council voted to press the Government for a change in legislation to allow them to charge second homes extra council tax in areas with an acute shortage of homes for local families.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Tim said: “The Minister will be aware that in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, vast percentages of communities are empty most of the year round because homes are not lived in.
“That undermines schools, public transport and the sustainability of such communities.
“Will the Government listen to local authorities and local communities and allow council tax to be raised to tackle the problem of excessive second-home ownership?”
In response, Rishi Sunak, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government made no commitment to introduce this measure.
Speaking afterwards, Tim said: “It’s incredibly disappointing that the Conservatives – both in Government and South Lakeland – won’t act to try and halt worrying rise in second home ownership.
“Allowing councils to increase council tax on second homes would not be about penalising second home owners, but about asking them to pay a fair contribution towards those vital local services which are at risk.
“It’s absolutely vital that as we start to reap the benefits of becoming a World Heritage Site, we have in place the measures which will keep our communities thriving and ensure that Cumbria remains an amazing place to live for everyone.”