Latest Public Sector News

21.04.15

Lib Dems to allow local authorities to charge double council tax on second homes

The Liberal Democrats have announced plans to allow local authorities to charge double the amount of council tax on second homes to ensure local residents aren’t priced out of the property market.

The proposal comes as part of the party’s new countryside charter to help such areas thrive. Nick Clegg said that he wants to create 300,000 new jobs rural jobs if his party is in power after the election.

Clegg said the proposed second home levy was aimed at ensuring there is “fairness in the housing market”.

The Lib Dems believe there is a balance to be struck between second home owners and first home owners in rural areas.

A higher rate of council tax for second homes would not be imposed on authorities but they would have the option. The party said areas including Cumbria, Cornwall and Devon have said they would be interested in higher council tax rates to “discourage” second home ownership.

Cornwall has the greatest number of second homes in England and Wales – about 5% of its 260,000 houses – and prices have risen over the past decade at an above-average rate.

Also included in the countryside charter is a pledge to roll out high-speed broadband to 99.9% of households across the UK and plans to increase the powers of the groceries code adjudicator so that all farmers, especially in the dairy industry, are paid fairly.

Other initiatives include plans to:

  • Give rural firms the transport infrastructure they need to grow and compete in global markets
  • Secure the future of the farming industry
  • Keep essential local services and facilities open
  • Boost rural tourism
  • Help rural businesses grow and expand by continuing to improve the planning system
  • Prioritise rural housing
  • Help young people in rural areas develop their skills
  • Make rural communities safer
  • Support fishing communities

(Image source: Joe Giddens)

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