Clegg reveals plans to tax second homes

SECOND HOMEOWNERS could face council tax bills of up to 200% if the Liberal Democrats return to government, Nick Clegg has revealed.

The party wants to give local councils the power to levy the charge in order to deter wealthy second homeowners from driving up the house prices in rural areas.

The average house price for rural homes rose 7.6% between 2013 and 2014, while urban homes rose 5.2%, according to the Land Registry.

Clegg said revenues derived from the tax hike would help fund local public services.

“I suspect people who own second homes here, many of whom have significant means, would like to chip in a bit extra,” he said in a speech in the St Austell yesterday, where his party is struggling to defend its 14 parliamentary seats.

He added levy could help “particularly in such a wonderful part of the country as this where there are so many people with second homes and where the prices, because of that, are way beyond the reach of many young people wanting to get their feet on the first rung of the property ladder”.

Just 3% of people in England and Wales own second homes, with Cornwall boasting the highest number according to the most recent census.

Housing has become a key issue in the General Election campaigning, with the Conservatives pledging to scrap inheritance tax on family homes under £1m.

“You have paid tax on the income, you paid tax when you bought the house, you shouldn’t have to pay tax when you die and want to pass that house onto your children and grandchildren,” David Cameron said when he announced the policy earlier this month.

Labour has promised to bring in a mansion tax, while the SNP will also follow suit.

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