YP Letters: Taxing second homes in Dales would be self-defeating

Should a council tax levy be imposed on second homes in the Yorkshire Dales?
Should a council tax levy be imposed on second homes in the Yorkshire Dales?
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From: Paul Rouse, past chairman, Association of Second Homeowners, York.

SOME years ago, the Labour government set up a commission to look into second home ownership.

It found that there were less than 90,000 second homes in the whole of England and Wales, less than one per cent of the housing stock.

It also found that a recent rise in tax on second homes, intended to be spent on affordable housing, was being spent on anything but.

The conclusion was that local planners in areas of second home concentration needed retraining.

The image of a rose-covered cottage, selfishly used by city dwellers as a country retreat at the expense of locals, is a myth. Most of what people see as a rural second home is a holiday let.

In fact, if a punitive tax is introduced, every owner of a second home will probably turn it into a holiday let, on which small business relief will apply, meaning that they will pay no tax at all.

However, it is unlikely that any tax increase requiring the approval of central Government will ever receive approval because there are more second homes in London than any other area, and many are owned by the very politicians who would be asked to vote for it.