One in four local authorities in England is set to double the council tax bill for second-home owners under new laws. Popular holiday home destinations including Devon, Cornwall, the Lake District and Norfolk have approved plans for the tax hike at the first opportunity.
The Telegraph reports that the plans would affect around 40 percent of second homes with more than 100,000 properties hit by the higher bills, which could raise an additional £200 million in tax revenue.
Second-home owners and tourism industry leaders told the publication that they are being “scapegoated” to cover the Government’s failure to build affordable housing and prevent locals from being outpriced.
Housing and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has said that he hopes to prevent families from being “pushed out” of their hometowns by clamping down on owners avoiding council tax by registering their properties as holiday let businesses. He hopes to enforce planning permission rules for this.
The Labour Party has said that if elected it will take measures further to allow councils to treble bills on second homes and a separate licensing system for holiday lets.
The Welsh Government introduced a council tax hike on second-home owners four years ago but their research showed there was “limited evidence of the effectiveness”.
A former minister told The Telegraph: “Councils have got to be careful what they wish for, because if they turn off too many second-home owners, they might find that they lose spending power, especially in the summer period when they need to make money.
“They have to think how much they want to push second-home owners before it becomes counterproductive, they have to find a balance.
“Better broadband and more working from home also mean that people can actually spend longer periods of time on work-cations. They have to use these powers wisely because not all second-home owners are evil.”
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