Second homes tax hike 'would not benefit Scilly'
A Scilly Councillor has said that Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal to double council tax on second homes would not have much benefit for the islands.
The Labour leader recently suggested that second properties used as holiday homes will have to pay an annual tax if the party wins the next election, with homeowners facing an average bill of about £3,000 a year. The increased revenue will be used to combat homelessness.
However, Cllr Dan Marcus, Lead Member for Planning, said the idea is not particularly radical.
“The Council itself was talking about doubling council tax on second homes in January as part of a future income generation scheme. Around 30% of houses on Scilly are holiday homes or second homes and doubling council tax would generate around £600,000, which would make a massive difference to council finances.
"What Jeremy Corbyn said is that that money would go to the Treasury to finance programmes to alleviate and reduce homelessness so like all major party leaders they’re talking on a national scale rather than a local scale. So that policy I don’t think would have much benefit for us on a local scale. Obviously it would be great to see homelessness reduced across the country and I would support that totally. “
Cllr Marcus explained that the Yorkshire Dales National Park tried to adopt the policy in order to free up housing for locals after many were forced to leave the area to find cheaper accommodation. However, the move was blocked by the District Council.
He added that Scilly also needs to free up more local housing, as well as attract more people to the islands to work.
“We need to make ours a more vibrant economy and a more attractive place for families to come and live in order to alleviate the ongoing skew in the demographic. Craig [Dryden, Senior Manager for Planning & Infrastructure] said at the last Council meeting that over 40% of the population will be past retirement age by 2030.”