This week, in Westminster Hall during a debate on Council Tax and Stamp Duty, Westmorland MP Tim Farron has expressed his support for the scrapping of Council Tax and the introduction of a new 'property tax'.
During the debate, led by Simon Fell MP for Barrow and Furness, Tim described Council Tax as a "bad attempt at a wealth tax, which fails miserably. It is regressive: someone can live in a £20 million mansion in Westminster and pay less in council tax than someone living in a social rented home in Kendal, Windermere, Grasmere, Appleby or Kirkby Stephen."
Whilst Tim expressed appreciation to the new Westmorland and Furness Council in enforcing a new, doubled Council Tax bill on second homeowners, he argued that this measure does not solve all issues. He explained: "That is still a minor blip for somebody who can afford a £750,000 extra home in the Lake District."
He argued that a new property tax would provide a fairer solution to not only the housing crisis but for local economies and services that a Council provides: "This new tax would allow us to use sliding scales and surcharges to ensure that people pay a fair amount for the property that they have. A wealth tax would take account of their ability to pay and would therefore allow a massive majority of my constituents, and everybody else's, to pay a more reasonable amount. In my community, the average house price is about 12 times the average income, so the average person is completely snookered when it comes to getting into the market. This new tax would allow us to do something about the distortion that council tax brings about by encouraging people to live in homes for which they do not pay a fair value, while a massive majority pay far too much."
Tim finished his speech with: "We want to tilt the scales against second homes and towards first homes in communities like mine. If levelling up is to mean anything, we surely want to shift towards a system that disincentivises multiple home ownership and property investment, and incentivises people to have homes as homes."