Lib Dems call for end to tax loophole for holiday homes

April 28, 2022 6:55 PM
Originally published by Tim Farron

Liberal Democrats in the South Lakes are calling for an end to a tax loophole that is seeing "a wealthy person with a second home" being subsidised by "families relying on foodbanks".

Will Clark, Lib Dem county councillor for the Lakes division, helped to put forward a motion at today's full council meeting to lobby Government to make holiday let owners pay council tax, rather than getting small business rate relief.

The motion calls upon Cumbria County Council to commit to:

  1. Write to all Cumbrian MPs and elicit their support.
  2. Write to the chancellor to close this loophole.
  3. Write to the local government minister to highlight the damage that disproportionate numbers of holiday lets bring onto our communities.
  4. Contact all Cumbrian parish councils to lobby their support.

Will said: "The tourism economy is important for employment in the central lakes,. However, the rising number of second homes and holiday homes is pricing the local community out of the area, meaning that tourism businesses are struggling to recruit the staff they need."

The issue was also raised during a debate in Parliament yesterday by Cumbria's Lib Dem MP Tim Farron.

Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate, he said: "The simple fact is that a wealthy person, with a second home in the Lake District, is subsidised by somebody on the breadline and going to the food bank in the same community because they have let their second home for 70 days a year. That means they pay no council tax and, as a small business, pay no business rate.

"That is an outrage from the Exchequer's point of view. It is also morally outrageous, that people barely getting by are subsidising wealthy people who can afford two, three, four or more homes."