Labour have done nothing on second homes says Duchy MP

North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson has criticised Labour councillors after they called on Cornwall Council to charge a higher rate of council tax on second homes. 

This would require a change in the law to allow Cornwall Council to levy a higher rate on second homes - something which the last Labour Government refused to do.

Commenting, Dan said: “Whilst Labour’s call for Cornwall Council to charge higher council tax on second homes makes for a good headline sixth months out from the General Election, the truth is that when they were in Government Labour did nothing to help Cornwall deal with second homes.

“Under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown Labour voted against my changes to the Planning Act 2008 which would have given local people a say over the number of second homes in their area. Labour also refused to let councils charge a higher rate of council tax on second homes, ignored the recommendations of the 2006 Affordable Rural Housing Commission, failed to act on second homes in response to former Cornish Lib Dem MP Matthew Taylor’s inquiry into the rural economy, and vetoed the Second Home Ownership (Regulation) Bill which I introduced with Julia Goldsworthy and Andrew George in 2010.

“Unfortunately the Conservatives are no better and have consistently blocked Lib Dem plans to give Cornwall Council the powers it needs to raise a higher rate of council tax on second homes. Only the Liberal Democrats are committed to giving Cornwall the powers it needs to tackle the proliferation of second homes in our communities.”

The Liberal Democrat manifesto at the last election in 2010 stated that a Liberal Democrat Government would “give local authorities the power to set higher Council Tax rates for second homes” and “the option to require specific planning permission for new second homes” in areas where the number of such homes is threatening the viability of a community. The Conservatives did not agree to the policies becoming part of the Coalition Government’s Agreement.

Earlier this year Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said that he was still campaigning to give communities a say over second homes through the planning system and to give local councils more freedom over the amount of council tax they charge on second homes.