Threat to holiday home owners

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The Independent Online

Owners of second homes may be hit with increased charges as the Government was reported to be preparing new measures to help rural communities.

Owners of second homes may be hit with increased charges as the Government was reported to be preparing new measures to help rural communities.

The lack of affordable housing in the countryside was identified as an issue before the election by ministers with Britain's 180,000 second home owners accused of pricing young families out of the rural housing market.

Tony Blair is due to unveil a "rural housing commission" next month prompting speculation that council tax bills could rise for holiday homes. Planning laws may also be tightened to block wealthy urban home-owners from adding a rural property to their portfolios, according to one report last night.

Yvette Cooper, a minister in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, responsible for housing, said it recognised that second home ownership could have an impact on whether young rural families could afford a home. "The commission will consider whether there is any case for government intervention, through planning control or otherwise, on second homes, she said.

There was further bad news for the propertied class amid reports that David Blunkett is interested in proposals that would cap state pensions for those that inherit homes.

The new Secretary of State for Welfare and Pensions said housing assets needed to be "put into the equation". Those inheriting property from relatives could see their entitlement to pension credits curtailed.

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