Second home owners receiving more than one £400 energy grant 'honestly very wrong,' MP says

Second home owners receiving a £400 rebate on their energy bills more than once is “honestly very wrong”, a former Liberal Democrat leader has said.

Boris Johnson said yesterday that the Government’s multi-billion package from the Treasury would be a “big bazooka” that would support families through the cost of living crisis, but acknowledged that many would still face a “bumpy time” ahead.

Among the measures announced on Thursday was a £400 energy rebate for every household. Analysis by The Yorkshire Post’s owners National World show that that equates to about £120m across the country for second homes.

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak said yesterday that people receiving the grant more than once would only account for a small proportion of the payments, but Tim Farron told The Yorkshire Post that money would be better spent on “people who are in desperate dire straits”, rather than offering more cash to those who “blatantly” do not need it.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak making a statement in the House of Commons, London, on the cost of living crisis on Thursday May 26

Mr Farron criticised second homeownership, believing that in excess it “kills communities” and suggested it was wrong to “incentivise”. However, he also said that money should be spent on those worst off.

“This is public money,” he said. “It took seven months to persuade the Government to do something. And we obviously welcome it because there are millions of people who will struggle – they will still struggle – but they will struggle somewhat less because of the package yesterday.

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“But those people who are in the most difficulty, it’s only going to deal with maybe a minority of the additional living costs that we’re going to deal with now. Then we’re giving people who’ve got second homes £400 that they blatantly do not need, when we could be spending that money on people who are in desperate dire straits that yesterday’s proposals don’t go anywhere near fully covering. That’s an awful set of choices. So it’s honestly very wrong.”

Shadow Chancellor and Leeds MP Rachel Reeves also expressed concern about the proposals, and said it signified that the package had been “rushed through”.

She told Sky News yesterday: “It is not right that if you own a second or a third home you should get this £400 payment multiple times. You can now get a situation where somebody who’s incredibly wealthy gets £400 on three or four occasions because they own so many properties.

“This is only happening because this package has been rushed through because the Government has been resisting this.”

Mr Sunak said there are only a couple of “practical” ways of delivering payments, either universally or through the council tax system, which could exclude some deserving individuals.

He told BBC Breakfast: “Second homes account for one or two per cent of the property stock.”

Speaking to broadcasters yesterday, Mr Johnson said: “What we are doing now is making sure we support people through tough times. It’s a big bazooka.”