Tax increase for holiday homes
Dec 2012 20

Second-home owners in the South West are going to be hit by an increase in council tax bills next year after both Cornwall and Devon councils scrapped their 10% discount. In a move aimed at holiday home owners, they will not only lose their discount but will also be charged 150% on homes that have stood empty for two years.

Plymouth City Council in Devon claims that government cuts have forced the  move. ‘We need to look at the big picture here and make sure we are not allowing the most vulnerable people in our city bear the brunt of the cuts,’ says a Plymouth councillor. ‘It’s never an easy decision to make but it’s only right those who can afford a second property pay their full share of council tax.”

A spokesman for local government secretary Eric Pickles agrees, saying: ‘Removing this special tax relief will help to keep council tax bills down for hard-working families and pensioners.’

But characterising second-home owners as ‘rich’ seems an easy target and I would have thought that some of them are also ‘hard-working families’ who have simply chosen to spend their money on a holiday home in Devon or Cornwall because it is cheaper than going abroad. If they now decide to sell up, then the South West will lose their seasonal expenditure. Still, taxing the ‘rich’ is a popular mantra and Plymouth Council hope to raise £1m by cancelling the tax relief.

‘We have people who have been coming to Cornwall for a long time who are involved in local charities and local organisations,’ says Cornwall North MP Dan Rogerson. ‘But that doesn’t mean that they should get the benefit of cheaper tax than those around them that are working hard and contributing far more to the local community.’

Tim is Grassroots Coordinator for Bath and the South-West. He is an historian, author and veteran local campaigner.

  • john in cheshire

    Socialism, eh? I gets everywhere. And socialists never seem to learn anything about how economies actually work.

    • Orac54

      To be fair, they’re not actually remotely interested in how economies work. It’s all about revenge.

      • Hardeep_Singh

        Indeed because Socialists are wedded to their ideology not the nation state. Thus Socialists the world over are more than happy to see their respective countries fall for the sake this deluded crusade. History and economics are the 2 biggest enemies as far as they are concerned thus are overlooked during school years and merely dismissed with rolling eyes in the media.

        • blarg1987

          I do not think that is the case, you have to remember the majority of people and industry in this country has benefied from socilist policies either directly or indirectly.

          Granted it has its flaws but you can not say its the fault of sociists that most of our countries companies and indistries is now foreign owned and run.

          • orac54

            So what if they are? But it is the fault of socialism that the country now has to borrow 25% of what socialists have decreed will be public spending. Because we had 13 years of socialist Government making that spending virtually irreversible.

          • blarg1987

            Well to start with we have had:


            Large scale building of council housing through to the sell offs in the 80′s leading to an elevated standard of living.
            the private

            Large scale infastructure projects (state funded).

            R and D leading to the private sector selling products to the mass market (space race being an example).

            State funded education and heavily subsidised university education allowing people to break through class barriers.


            The foundation of Rolls Royce aerospaces success i.e. the Trent engine.

            Remember New Labour was not really socilist as alot of their policies i.e. PFI, deregulation etc were Conservative policies so do not say they are SSocilist policies as I said it has had its flaws but don’t try and offload bad Conservative policies as the fault of Socilists.

          • orac54

            Rubbish. “New” Labour increased state expenditure exponentially during its time in power. It put 1m more people in the employ of the state, thereby hugely increasing the future pension bill for future taxpayers. A Conservative government would never have done that.

            Other than NHS (which is a huge, ludicrously expensive monolith today compared with what Bevan envisaged), it’s a pretty shabby list.

            You have a breathtaking cheek to talk about state-funded education, which socialists didn’t found (the first state funded school in UK was founded in 700 AD) and have done their best to ruin through the comprehensive system.

          • blarg1987

            There is more that can be added what the state has provided overall but we would be here for a long time, but a big one is one which you are using the internet, provided by CERN and U.S military funded by the state.

            New Labour did increase the size of that state to a degree but there again alot of our nations infastructure (Schools Hospitals etc) needed renovatng and moderrnising as well as employing more staff to cope with things like elderly care. Also alot of these jobs are jobs that have been outsourced which the conservatives started which but TAX PAYER guarentees in.

            State education was started earlier but the elephant in the room is that it was not for everyone untill after WW2.

            Granted I Accapet the NHS has its flaws but it statrted going downhill when it was turned from what Bevin statred to a market based system which was started under the Conservatives and carried on by NEw Labour.

          • orac54

            What elephant in the room? My father went to a state school before WW2. My grandmother taught in a state school in the 1920s and 1930s. You’re peddling socialist revisionist myths.

  • Hardeep_Singh

    For the love of God, please stop blaming everything on a cut in Government spending. Try to adjust your own cost base in order to accommodate the new budget, it’s really not the end of the world regardless of what the Mayan’s might say.

    Councils are no different from any other entity in this world and are in urgent need of developing a flexible culture rather than the current ‘more money where that came from’ approach.

    • blarg1987

      Council’s are doing that by reducing services however people still want services so that requires funding, abolishing relief on second homes is a win win, it brings in additional revenue and the people who are affected are not residents so do not have a vote.

      • orac54

        If people want services, they should pay for them. But they want other people to pay for them, out of some magic sack of money. Like they want guaranteed pensions without contributing enough to fund them. Other people should pay. Socialism in a sentence.

        • blarg1987

          So by that logic you advicate you should be responsible for the road outside your house, pay your own health care costs, provide your own waste service pcollection etc?

          This would lead to anarchy as people are naturally selfish, and there are so many services we all use without realising, everytime you go shopping you are using a public service directly or indirectly.

          No system is perfect but it is a less perfect system, if your on about local goverment pensions are you saying the funding is being cut to them so workers should pay more or that theycan not cover their costs? I only ask as there is alot of data out there on that subject.

          • orac54

            I pay for all the services I use, both directly and indirectly. I do draw the distinction, though, between essential services like emergency healthcare, and inessential (insofar as the only ones to benefit from them are the employees themselves) gold-plated pensions for local government employees. Quite why they should be protected from “not covering their costs” when the vast majority of workers – who fund those pensions – aren’t, is a question nobody seems capable of answering satisfactorily.,

          • blarg1987

            Are you saying they should fully cover the cost of their own pensions or pay more?

          • orac54


          • blarg1987

            So do you fully cover the cost of your pension if you work for a comapny? The answer is no.

            Also I think you will find that the public sector is paying more for their pensions and less benefits from it.

            However to add balance, several private sector pensions have released reports showing that they expect to turn back to profitability over the longer term and that the large hit is down to the financial crisis which has meant they have not had to increase contributions, although those are in unionised organisations.

          • orac54

            What? I work for a company and Yes, I do cover the cost of my pension. I don’t see how you can possibly have got that wrong.

            Who in the public sector is paying more than the average in the private sector to retire at 60 on a guaranteed, index-linked pension related to final salary?

            The crisis in private pensions is most due to Brown’s theft in 1997. It’s too easy to blame the “financial crisis” for everything.

          • blarg1987

            No you do not, as your employer also contributes to your pension as you are implying the tax payer contributes to people’s pension in the public sector.

            And to correct you final salary schemes are being shut down in the oublic sector and to answer your point think you willfind CEO’s have better pensions that are index loinked and can retire before they are 60 :P .