MP Tim Farron: Second homes' tax would help create affordable housing

First published in Politics The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

SECOND home owners in the Lake District could be charged more council tax in a bid to help locals in need of housing.

Speaking in the House of Commons, MP Tim Farron said there are currently 3,000 people in South Lakeland on a housing waiting list.

But there are more than 3,500 second homes locally - many lying empty for more than 90 per cent of the year.

The Liberal Democrats have proposed an Empty Homes Premium to give councils powers to charge landlords extra tax if they do not fill their properties.

But Mr Farron wants this extended to cover second homes.

The Westmorland and Lonsdale MP was encouraged to submit his request to the Government’s consultation, Technical Reforms to Council Tax.

The Government has already announced that councils will no longer have to offer holiday home owners a tax subsidy of up to 50 per cent.

“The decision to end the ridiculous subsidy for second homes was a massive win but, with over 3,000 families in South Lakeland on the social housing waiting list, we need to do more,” said Mr Farron.

Mr Farron added that another levy on second homes would generate money to build more homes for local people.

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“We can use the money to build more affordable housing to end this incredible injustice,” he said.

Comments (14)

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5:49pm Tue 6 Dec 11

Ado 16 says...

I'd be tempted to say - Ban second homes altogether. They've crippled villages in the Lakes and elsewhere (The dead villages of Cornwall come to mind). Thirty years ago when cars and roads weren't so reliable, country cottages could be had for the price of a garage in the South East, now rural prices are on a par with anything in London! The English have had a similar effect in the Dordogne in South West France. Would it really damage the economy of the Lakes so much if people had to stay in hotels? or B&B's?
I'd be tempted to say - Ban second homes altogether. They've crippled villages in the Lakes and elsewhere (The dead villages of Cornwall come to mind). Thirty years ago when cars and roads weren't so reliable, country cottages could be had for the price of a garage in the South East, now rural prices are on a par with anything in London! The English have had a similar effect in the Dordogne in South West France. Would it really damage the economy of the Lakes so much if people had to stay in hotels? or B&B's? Ado 16
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7:19pm Tue 6 Dec 11

gadgetgadget says...

Long, long, long overdue.

Although it probably doesn't go far enough !
Long, long, long overdue. Although it probably doesn't go far enough ! gadgetgadget
  • Score: 0

12:11am Wed 7 Dec 11

hevonly says...

An extra tax is quite feasible and hopefully affordable for second home owners, just do we trust the government to actually build new homes with it??

Ado: If we banned second homes that would mean 'everywhere' presumably, as it can't just apply to the Lake District surely? I wouldn't want to stay in a B&B or Hotel when I go on holiday though? It's not practical when you have lots of children and not that affordable either!!

What about all those B&B's and hotels that were once houses? would they have to change back into homes too?

Surely there's a solution that means we can have holiday homes AND local housing?

Do you have any idea how much money is put back into the community by tourists staying in holiday cottages? It's not just the home owner making money, it's all the shops, restaurants, community as a whole! Including tradesmen, cleaners, laundry co's etc. Just think of all the people who would be unemployed if there were no longer holiday cottages.
An extra tax is quite feasible and hopefully affordable for second home owners, just do we trust the government to actually build new homes with it?? Ado: If we banned second homes that would mean 'everywhere' presumably, as it can't just apply to the Lake District surely? I wouldn't want to stay in a B&B or Hotel when I go on holiday though? It's not practical when you have lots of children and not that affordable either!! What about all those B&B's and hotels that were once houses? would they have to change back into homes too? Surely there's a solution that means we can have holiday homes AND local housing? Do you have any idea how much money is put back into the community by tourists staying in holiday cottages? It's not just the home owner making money, it's all the shops, restaurants, community as a whole! Including tradesmen, cleaners, laundry co's etc. Just think of all the people who would be unemployed if there were no longer holiday cottages. hevonly
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11:25am Wed 7 Dec 11

BentheBorderCollie says...

As 'business assets', holiday cottages enjoy tax breaks, and council tax and other expenses are offset against rental income for tax purposes. So they already enjoy a healthy subsidy from the taxpayer...
As 'business assets', holiday cottages enjoy tax breaks, and council tax and other expenses are offset against rental income for tax purposes. So they already enjoy a healthy subsidy from the taxpayer... BentheBorderCollie
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2:14pm Wed 7 Dec 11

KingofGrasmere says...

No S**T Sherlock

Tragically late

But we need to stop being blinkered and just using the money to build an affordable home...by all means build where its senstive and infill, but not just panic build...

Instead, the money should be used to subsidise the diffence between cost to owner of holiday let pw - family / couple rental amount per week...thats where the trouble starts as it seems more financially viable to let to people on holiday...

However, a subsidy and the fact that holiday homes are never let all year round as a rental home would be and some clever education communicating tyhat when a house rented 'its not difficult to claim back'... as we have to remember its not just the stinking rich and holiday cottage businesses that have second homes its also indigenous locals, many who are holding onto family property for their hopefully one day returning children to live in...the problem is there are limited jobs. So a rural business start up support programme required...

But lets stop talking and start blooming well doing as ultimately all localness will be well and truly lost (and localism's well en vogue isnt it) and we'll all be selling a national park that is full of people from elsewhere and touroids having a theme park experience...no true lakeland character and soul

Sort it out now!
No S**T Sherlock Tragically late But we need to stop being blinkered and just using the money to build an affordable home...by all means build where its senstive and infill, but not just panic build... Instead, the money should be used to subsidise the diffence between cost to owner of holiday let pw - family / couple rental amount per week...thats where the trouble starts as it seems more financially viable to let to people on holiday... However, a subsidy and the fact that holiday homes are never let all year round as a rental home would be and some clever education communicating tyhat when a house rented 'its not difficult to claim back'... as we have to remember its not just the stinking rich and holiday cottage businesses that have second homes its also indigenous locals, many who are holding onto family property for their hopefully one day returning children to live in...the problem is there are limited jobs. So a rural business start up support programme required... But lets stop talking and start blooming well doing as ultimately all localness will be well and truly lost (and localism's well en vogue isnt it) and we'll all be selling a national park that is full of people from elsewhere and touroids having a theme park experience...no true lakeland character and soul Sort it out now! KingofGrasmere
  • Score: 0

7:48pm Wed 7 Dec 11

TomHarvey says...

Ah, comments from Mr Farron that everyone has been saying for years as the Government finally consults on being able make the appropriate changes to Council Tax. Lets wait until the new changes are adopted and see who takes full credit for introducing them.....
The consultation is here http://goo.gl/8fkyh and is only 22 questions - I hope any one who has taken the time to comment here will respond to the consultation.
SLDC have responded robustly with the full support of all parties, full details here http://goo.gl/YZQDB
Ah, comments from Mr Farron that everyone has been saying for years as the Government finally consults on being able make the appropriate changes to Council Tax. Lets wait until the new changes are adopted and see who takes full credit for introducing them..... The consultation is here http://goo.gl/8fkyh and is only 22 questions - I hope any one who has taken the time to comment here will respond to the consultation. SLDC have responded robustly with the full support of all parties, full details here http://goo.gl/YZQDB TomHarvey
  • Score: 0

8:03pm Wed 7 Dec 11

TomHarvey says...

BentheBorderCollie wrote:
As 'business assets', holiday cottages enjoy tax breaks, and council tax and other expenses are offset against rental income for tax purposes. So they already enjoy a healthy subsidy from the taxpayer...
Holiday cottages and 2nd homes are two different things.
2nd homes pay 90% Council tax and are not let commercially.
Holiday cottages are let for a certain number of weeks (I am not sure of the number of weeks, but its about 16+ I think) and pay business rates and have all the perks and downsides of a business. These are in many ways of more concern than 2nd homes as the local area at least gets 90% Council tax from 2nd homes (hopefully 100% or possibly more soon) but Holiday rentals pay business rates and all business rates go back to central Government for redistribution in various forms. They can also get small business rate relief which in many cases can be up to 100% if the rateable value is less than £6k or so. This means that many holiday lets therefore don't actually pay any local property taxation, although income is of course taxed and they have to pay for things like waste collection as a commercial business. So to lump them all together as second homes and to call for a levy on the 'business' ones is a different argument and is a separate debate that needs further thought.
[quote][p][bold]BentheBorderCollie[/bold] wrote: As 'business assets', holiday cottages enjoy tax breaks, and council tax and other expenses are offset against rental income for tax purposes. So they already enjoy a healthy subsidy from the taxpayer...[/p][/quote]Holiday cottages and 2nd homes are two different things. 2nd homes pay 90% Council tax and are not let commercially. Holiday cottages are let for a certain number of weeks (I am not sure of the number of weeks, but its about 16+ I think) and pay business rates and have all the perks and downsides of a business. These are in many ways of more concern than 2nd homes as the local area at least gets 90% Council tax from 2nd homes (hopefully 100% or possibly more soon) but Holiday rentals pay business rates and all business rates go back to central Government for redistribution in various forms. They can also get small business rate relief which in many cases can be up to 100% if the rateable value is less than £6k or so. This means that many holiday lets therefore don't actually pay any local property taxation, although income is of course taxed and they have to pay for things like waste collection as a commercial business. So to lump them all together as second homes and to call for a levy on the 'business' ones is a different argument and is a separate debate that needs further thought. TomHarvey
  • Score: 0

9:58pm Wed 7 Dec 11

Ben Berry says...

“We can use the money to build more affordable housing to end this incredible injustice,” - Tim Farron

Oh but not really?

"The Council haven’t built any new homes for a long time; they are all built by housing associations. This will continue" - Peter Thornton

hehe...

But all in all a great idea and I hope the Government listen to SLDC's contribution to the consultation.
“We can use the money to build more affordable housing to end this incredible injustice,” - Tim Farron Oh but not really? "The Council haven’t built any new homes for a long time; they are all built by housing associations. This will continue" - Peter Thornton hehe... But all in all a great idea and I hope the Government listen to SLDC's contribution to the consultation. Ben Berry
  • Score: 0

12:00am Thu 8 Dec 11

Peter Thornton says...

Ben
You really should take more notice of what happens in your Council, or perhaps ask your colleague Tom Harvey.
We've just committed £300,000 towards 53 affordable houses to rent, most of them in the Lake District National Park. This is money raised from second home owners and represents the difference between the old 50% discount and the current 10% discount that we are (currently) forced to grant.
The fact that we are working with Housing associations enables us to get 53 houses from £300,000 rather than just 2.
Do try to keep up!
Ben You really should take more notice of what happens in your Council, or perhaps ask your colleague Tom Harvey. We've just committed £300,000 towards 53 affordable houses to rent, most of them in the Lake District National Park. This is money raised from second home owners and represents the difference between the old 50% discount and the current 10% discount that we are (currently) forced to grant. The fact that we are working with Housing associations enables us to get 53 houses from £300,000 rather than just 2. Do try to keep up! Peter Thornton
  • Score: 0

9:47am Thu 8 Dec 11

gadgetgadget says...

Aah interesting - squabbling councillors on this site .... as Harry Hill would say only one way to sort this out ... FIGHT !

Actually thinking about it ... that may be quite good to watch ! :)

Seriously I think the key word in both quotes above is the word "BUILD" !
Aah interesting - squabbling councillors on this site .... as Harry Hill would say only one way to sort this out ... FIGHT ! Actually thinking about it ... that may be quite good to watch ! :) Seriously I think the key word in both quotes above is the word "BUILD" ! gadgetgadget
  • Score: 0

10:34am Thu 8 Dec 11

TomHarvey says...

gadgetgadget wrote:
Aah interesting - squabbling councillors on this site .... as Harry Hill would say only one way to sort this out ... FIGHT !

Actually thinking about it ... that may be quite good to watch ! :)

Seriously I think the key word in both quotes above is the word "BUILD" !
Or as its more commonly know, a debate.
You can also experience them live and uninterrupted in HD & 3D
Just go here http://goo.gl/rfi1B for a full schedule of times and venues. Entry is free and public participation is encouraged.
[quote][p][bold]gadgetgadget[/bold] wrote: Aah interesting - squabbling councillors on this site .... as Harry Hill would say only one way to sort this out ... FIGHT ! Actually thinking about it ... that may be quite good to watch ! :) Seriously I think the key word in both quotes above is the word "BUILD" ![/p][/quote]Or as its more commonly know, a debate. You can also experience them live and uninterrupted in HD & 3D Just go here http://goo.gl/rfi1B for a full schedule of times and venues. Entry is free and public participation is encouraged. TomHarvey
  • Score: 0

1:08pm Thu 8 Dec 11

gadgetgadget says...

Thanks for the unashamed plug for the council meetings just in time for Xmas ! :)

Although I bet they're not number one on most people's list of priorities at present.

Although I do think you missed out a couple of phrases in the "live and uninterrupted" - "mostly uncensored" entry to the particular meeting may be free "but overall participation isn't subscription free" (council tax). And you don't have to wear 3D glasses to experience the 3D effect but I suspect some method of taking away the possible boredom might be a suggested accessory to bring along - an Ipod for example !

I was actually joking BTW ! :) (and still am) - although the thought did occur perhaps some disputes (or debates as you correctly point out) may be settled in the "Harry Hill" fashion rather than written or verbal debate - might get more interest from the public ! :) :)
Thanks for the unashamed plug for the council meetings just in time for Xmas ! :) Although I bet they're not number one on most people's list of priorities at present. Although I do think you missed out a couple of phrases in the "live and uninterrupted" - "mostly uncensored" entry to the particular meeting may be free "but overall participation isn't subscription free" (council tax). And you don't have to wear 3D glasses to experience the 3D effect but I suspect some method of taking away the possible boredom might be a suggested accessory to bring along - an Ipod for example ! I was actually joking BTW ! :) (and still am) - although the thought did occur perhaps some disputes (or debates as you correctly point out) may be settled in the "Harry Hill" fashion rather than written or verbal debate - might get more interest from the public ! :) :) gadgetgadget
  • Score: 0

9:27am Sat 10 Dec 11

STATIONMAN says...

I can never understand why holiday lets (not second homes) have the benefit of paying business rates without have to obtain a 'change of use' approval from the planners. If permission were needed maybe, just maybe, the planners would be able to control numbers a bit.
So far as second homes are concerned I would just tax them out of existance.
I can never understand why holiday lets (not second homes) have the benefit of paying business rates without have to obtain a 'change of use' approval from the planners. If permission were needed maybe, just maybe, the planners would be able to control numbers a bit. So far as second homes are concerned I would just tax them out of existance. STATIONMAN
  • Score: 0

10:12am Tue 13 Dec 11

Helvellyn55 says...

Why does Mr Farron not trouble to have the National Park Authority enforce planning restrictions that insist on local occupancy not use as holiday lets? There are two such houses on Lake Road in Ambleside that quite blatantly flout the restrictions imposed (not 6 years ago) and no one but no one bothers. Less retoric and some action perhaps from the publicity hungry fellow??
Why does Mr Farron not trouble to have the National Park Authority enforce planning restrictions that insist on local occupancy not use as holiday lets? There are two such houses on Lake Road in Ambleside that quite blatantly flout the restrictions imposed (not 6 years ago) and no one but no one bothers. Less retoric and some action perhaps from the publicity hungry fellow?? Helvellyn55
  • Score: 0

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