Tax rise for second home owners

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The Independent Online
SECOND HOME owners could be hit with larger council tax bills under proposals being studied by ministers.

The proposed move, which would be popular with campaigners concerned with the protection of the countryside, is being considered by the Department of the Environment.

If the Government decides to back the increase the owners of about 500,000 properties who currently qualify for a 50 per cent council tax reduction could be asked to pay the full rate set by the local authority.

A DoE spokeswoman yesterday admitted the proposal was being considered. but emphasised that it represented just one of many responses to the Government's consultation paper "Improving Local Finance Accountability".

Another response says councils should create "zones" in which absentee owners would pay premium rates on properties.

Campaigners supporting both ideas believe they could slow surging house prices and help to counter rural depopulation.

The Local Government Association has been lobbying for the right to charge second home owners up to three times the standard rate.

Leading article, page 14

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