Pat yourselves on the back!
Pat yourselves on the back! Our campaign for a fairer housing market has forced a partial Government back down.
Cornwall and the Scillies has been at the forefront of our campaign to highlight the industrial level (though lawful) tax avoidance going on in the second home sector. Growing numbers of second home investors have been taking advantage of tax loopholes in business rating and tax off-setting (through mortgage interest, capital investment and refurbishment costs) …and more.
Legitimate holiday businesses, local families in housing need, crumbling local services and Cornwall Council which loses £millions every year have all been counting the cost.
Conservative ministers have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear for years. But we’ve made good progress – eg halting the Conservative Party’s infamous 50% Council Tax discount for second homers. However, wealthy investors have tax advisers who seek out new lawful ruses not available to the rest of us.
Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is still being spent subsidising the wealthy to have their second homes while thousands of local families cannot afford their first.
The rising noise of and support for our campaign has forced even the Conservatives to back down. They’ve just announced they’ll “review” the situation.
Well a “review” may help, but I suspect it’ll get tangled in the long grass. So instead I say Government Ministers must introduce a legal register of non-permanently-occupied (second) homes. We’ve proposed this before. It can be done through the planning system. Only then can we control numbers and ensure they pay their way. But will this Government go that far?