Thursday, July 7, 2022

Government slammed for energy discount to second home owners

energy discount

Tim Farron branded the scheme’s application ‘tone deaf’ and said the money going to ‘very wealthy people who have a second, third, fourth home’ could have pulled others out of poverty

An MP has slammed the government for a ‘rush job’ in implementing the £400 ($501.16) energy discount for every household-which will see owners of multiple homes receive the discount for each house they own.

MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale Tim Farron branded the scheme’s application ‘tone deaf’ and said the money going to ‘very wealthy people who have a second, third, fourth home’ could have pulled others out of poverty.

Because It’s such a rush job, we’ve got a situation that every household in the country will get the £400 ($501.16) including second homes, he said.

And then it asks the question about people like me who are taxpayer funded, who gets a place in London for my job, will they give me an extra £400 ($501.16)? I think they will, and I assure you I will give it to a foodbank, he said.

We’re pleased they’ve done something and there’s thousands of my constituents who will benefit from this, he said. But they could offer much more help for the poorest people and this £400 ($501.16) will pay for less than half of the increase in people’s bills.

He said: And at the same time, they’re going to give £400 ($501.16) to very wealthy people who have a second, third, fourth home. And that’s unnecessary, it could be spent on people who even with the £400 ($501.16) won’t be prevented from going into poverty.

It’s tone deaf for the government to give £400 ($501.16) to people who absolutely don’t need it and providing a second incentive for people to have second homes in a community that has far far too many already, Farron said.

His criticism comes as new figures revealed that South Lakeland had seen the biggest increase in the number of holiday lets in England and Wales since March 2020.

Figures from the government’s Valuation Office Agency, provided by property experts Altus Group, show there were 2,862 holiday lets in South Lakeland trading as businesses as of the end of May – 441 more than in mid-March 2020, before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The figures cover second homes which are registered as commercial premises – meaning they must be made available for at least 140 days each year– but does not include other second homes used for private holiday lets.

Records from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities from September 2021 show there were 3,703 properties registered as second homes for council tax purposes in South Lakeland.

Farron has called on second homeowners to consider donating the extra cash they gain from the £400 cut to energy bills.

It’s no secret that I have been critical of second home ownership and that’s for good reason, he said.

In my constituency of Westmorland and Lonsdale second home ownership and holiday lets are taking away affordable housing from my constituents and forcing local people out of the area, he said.

He said: However, second homeowners have a real opportunity here to give back to the community by donating the money they have saved via the Chancellor’s intervention.


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