Money News: Call for 'impact tax' to stop local people losing out

A new "impact tax" levied on second homes in Britain's rural hotspots would help ease the housing crisis for local residents, a government-commissioned report has proposed.

The levy was one of a number of measures suggested last week by the Affordable Rural Housing Commission (ARHC), set up to find ways of helping communities in the countryside.

Local people, especially young couples and families, cannot afford to get on the property ladder because wealthier people from towns buy up housing for weekends and holidays - particularly in "honeypot" areas such as Cornwall and the Lake District.

To this end, the impact tax, along with local restrictions on "right to buy" schemes and greater government housing subsidies, should all be considered to ensure that the next generation is not priced out of the countryside, the ARHC said.

The 12-member body also stated that at least 11,000 new affordable homes needed to be built each year in market towns and villages to meet demand.

ARHC chairman Elinor Goodman said: "If we don't act now, rural communities [will]... become dormitories for the better off and places where people go to retire."

According to figures from the Halifax, the average price of a house in a rural area is 6.7 times local average annual earnings, compared to 5.6 in urban areas.

Bank accounts: Co-op's helping hand for convicts

Prisoners are being given the chance to open a bank account while still behind bars, as part of a 12-month pilot scheme launched last Wednesday by the Co-operative Bank.

The initiative, which is being tried out at the Category B Forest Bank prison in Pendlebury, Greater Manchester, will allow prisoners to set up bank accounts in the final days before their release.

An account is generally needed before you can get a job but, to satisfy anti-money laundering regulations, it requires proof of identity and address - which most prisoners don't have.

Under the new scheme - to be rolled out across the country next year if the trial is successful - prison staff will be able to confirm the ID and address of a convict, so the account can be opened.

Even though the scheme is being run by the Co-op, prisoners will be able to open an account with the bank of their choice.

Premium bonds: Rates are cut by National Savings

National Savings and Investments has cut the prize fund rate on its premium bonds and the interest payable on its variable savings accounts.

From 1 June, the tax-free prize fund rate will fall from 3 per cent to 2.95 per cent, while interest on the Investment Account will also be reduced by 0.05 per cent for all customers.

While the government-backed savings provider insists there will still be more than 1.27 million prizes awarded each month on the premium bonds, the monthly prize fund total will fall from £76.6m in May to an estimated £75.4m in June.

Although the Bank of England base rate hasn't moved since August 2005, NS&I said the changes were due to "changing market conditions and costs".

Elsewhere there was better news as NS&I increased the interest paid on new savings certificates by between 0.15 and 0.4 per cent. The certificates run for either three or five years and pay a fixed return that is guaranteed to beat inflation.

For example, the new three-year index-linked savings certificate (13th issue) will offer interest equivalent to 6.08 per cent for higher-rate, or 4.56 per cent for lower-rate taxpayers - if the headline rate of inflation (currently 2.6 per cent) stays the same for three years.

Property: 'Make sellers' packs voluntary'

Home Information Packs (HIPs) came under fire again last week when the Building Societies Association (BSA) called for the documents to be made voluntary.

From June 2007, sellers will be required to produce HIPs, which are designed to shift the responsibility for surveys and searches from buyers on to vendors.

The estimated cost of a pack is as much as £1,000, and failure to provide one will be punishable by a fine.

The Government argues that HIPs will speed up the house-buying process and make chains run more smoothly. However, eight in 10 building society chief executives believe that this won't happen because home valuations aren't included in the packs and buyers will still have to do the legwork and pay for this service.

They worry that HIPs will add costs without any benefits and could lead to supply problems in the future as people rush to sell before the June 2007 deadline.

The chief executives argue that making HIPs voluntary would allow market forces to determine the demand - and how they will operate. It would also give buyers and sellers time to acquaint themselves fully with the packs.

"With so much uncertainty among consumers and the industry over how the packs will work, it seems wrong that it will be an offence to sell a house without one," said Adrian Coles, director of the BSA.

"Making them voluntary will lessen any negative impact on the market."

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

    SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

    £20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn