Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 4°C

Search

Lords back Suffolk campaign to close loophole which helps second home owners avoid tax

PUBLISHED: 17:31 21 June 2018

David Beavan has been campaigning to close the second home tax loophole  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

David Beavan has been campaigning to close the second home tax loophole Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

A Suffolk campaign to close a loophole allowing second home owners to avoid paying tax on their property has won support in the House of Lords.

Lord Deben backed calls to close the loophole Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNLord Deben backed calls to close the loophole Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

During a debate on Wednesday, peers in the Upper House heard how in campaigners in Southwold found the current system cost the council around £500,000 a year.

Earlier this year, Southwold’s Liberal Democrats claimed growing numbers of second-home owners were registering properties as holiday-lets and claiming small business rate relief. To qualify as a holiday let properties must only be “available to let” for 140 days a year – which could mean as little as a window advert. And as long as the property’s rateable value is less than £12,000, owners can get 100% business rate relief - meaning they pay no tax on it.

Lord Shipley, who raised the subject on behalf of the campaigners, called for the system to be brought in line with Wales, where it is a requirement that any house designated as a business, rather than being liable for council tax, must be let for a minimum of 70 days.

Lord Deben, who was Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer, supported those calls.

Many homes in Southwold are second homes Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMany homes in Southwold are second homes Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

As a second home owner himself, he said that while there were circumstances where people had to work in one place and live in another, the situation in Suffolk’s coastal communities had changed. He said Southwold, Aldeburgh and other villages had “very largely become a place of second homes”. “It is a real problem for community cohesion,” he added.

“I do not support the idea that people can avoid their proper contribution to the community by using what has elegantly been referred to as a loophole. It is worse than that, because they are telling a direct lie.”

Several other peers also backed the proposals.

Southwold Liberal Democrat campaigner, David Beavan, said he was elated with the debate.

“It just shows that ordinary people can change things, and that the rich and powerful can be brought to book, he added.

“We will keep collecting signatures and keep the pressure up until the law is changed.”

The campaigners’ online petition has more than 700 signatures. Canvassers are also are going door to door in Southwold and Reydon, where they have collected 250 signatures in one week.

Two knife wielding robbers threatened staff at an Ipswich convenience shop before fleeing on foot with cash and cigarettes.

A major north Suffolk bridge has reopened after a fire had closed it to traffic.

Motorists are being warned of severe delays following a crash and car fire on the A12.

Don’t leave your New Year’s eve plans until last minute - see what events are happening around Suffolk with our guide.

A driver who was stopped in Ipswich for allegedly using a mobile phone behind the wheel has been arrested after reportedly giving a positive drugs test.

A pub landlord who smashed a pint glass over a customer was put behind bars this week. Take a look at the others here.

Hundreds of US air force staff from RAF Mildenhall and their families are moving to Gloucestershire as the Suffolk base prepares for closure.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24