Conservatives to reinforce second home tax loop-hole, not remove it

Posted on: 25th March 2021

Andrew George was first to expose the multi-million second home tax loophole introduced by the Conservatives a decade ago. He says the apparent “crack-down” on it announced this week “is just pre-election confetti and will, if anything, merely reinforce the problem of a system rigged in favour of property investors and second homers to the detriment of locals in housing need”.

“If the Conservatives were genuinely intending to introduce legislation to close this tax loop-hole it would of course be welcome. But they’ve provided little information on what legislation is planned and just offered another consultation after a previous consultation a few years ago. That this has been announced just before crucial local elections suggests their purpose is cynical rather than substantial. 

“If there is any substance to this announcement I’ll notch it down as campaign success! For years the Conservatives refused to accept this was even a problem.

“They may have been shamed into this apparent backtrack. But they would have more credence if they first apologised for having got this so wrong in the first place.

“If they were concerned about unfairness, as they claim, they’d also give Cornwall Council powers to claw-back some of the £133 million which has been doled out to second home owners in Covid aid over the last year. The Conservatives are silent on this.

“We need a Government which is prepared to introduce strong planning and tax powers to effectively control second homes and to instead give priority to locals in housing need. All we can gather from the little the Conservatives have announced is that they will check that those who claim their property is available for holiday let for at least 140 days a year actually do so. This won’t close the loop hole. Just reinforce it.”