Westmorland and Furness Council take action on housing crisis in first budget

March 7, 2023 3:41 PM
Originally published by Tim Farron

Lib Dem-run Westmorland and Furness Council has put tackling the housing crisis at the heart of its first ever budget.

The new authority, which will replace the existing county and district councils from April, has announced a 100% council tax rise on second homes from April 2024.

Meanwhile, the higher Council Tax Premiums on homes that have been empty for 2 years or more which exists in South Lakeland will now be extended to Eden and Barrow.

The money raised by the plans will go back into local communities that have been affected by the housing crisis.

The budget was approved at a meeting of Westmorland and Furness Council earlier today, despite every Conservative councillor voting against.

Andrew Jarvis, the council's portfolio holder for Finance and Lib Dem Councillor for Windermere and Ambleside said: "Tackling the housing crisis was a big part of our election manifesto, so I'm delighted that we're able to crack on with taking action on empty homes.

"This is just the first step in a range of measures we want to take to tackle the housing crisis across Westmorland and Furness.

"In the coming months we will work with housing associations to help build the affordable homes that local families can afford and make sure those homes meet high eco standards to help people with their energy bills."

The measures were welcomed by local Lib Dem MP Tim Farron. Tim said: "From Coniston to Crosby Ravensworth, housing is by far and away the biggest issue that comes up when I'm knocking on doors in Westmorland.

"It's appalling that our communities are littered with houses stood empty for most of the year, while local people and families struggle to afford a home of their own.

"So I strongly welcome the real action that the new Westmorland and Furness Council is taking on this its first budget.

"On a national level, I am lobbying the Government to give Westmorland and Furness Council more powers to limit the number of second homes and Airbnbs in local communities."