East Suffolk Liberal Democrats are campaigning against a loophole that allows second home owners to avoid paying rates by saying they are businesses. A second home, that is available for holiday lets for 140 days a year (they don’t have to actually let it, except in Wales!), can claim to be a business for rates, and all properties of less than £12,000 valuation receive 100% small business rate relief – so they pay nothing. (NB this is not the same as Furnished Holiday Lets.)
In Southwold, more than half the houses are second homes and local people are priced out of the market. More houses are being built but they are selling at £500,000 each and a local Tory councillor allowed the developer to drop the six affordable homes for £170,000.
This loophole increases house price even more for locals who have to pay council tax. It also costs the council about £500,000 a year in lost revenue.
David Beavan, who came second to the Conservatives in the county elections and is standing in next year’s District Council elections next year, said;
It is unfair that people with no homes should be subsidising people with two homes. We are not against second homes, but it is time to put a break on their spread before the community is destroyed.
The East Anglian Daily Times last week covered the story last week on its frontpage, two inside pages and editorial backing.
It would be great if other Liberal Democrat groups in holiday areas could add their voice to this campaign. If you want chapter and verse on the regulations, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See who claims business rates relief in your area here.