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Second home owners rewarded as they will get Rishi Sunak’s £400 energy bill discount twice

27 May 2022 3 minute read
Rishi Sunak. Picture by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0). Right, Demonstration in Nefyn on Saturday, May 1 against the rising issue of second home ownership in the area. By Sion Bryn Evans.

There has been criticism of Rishi Sunak’s energy bill discount after it was revealed that second home owners will get it twice – double the £400 received by others.

The Treasury has confirmed that this applies to every individual house – including second homes – prompting criticism from MPs who have campaigned to clamp down on the number of second homes.

Cumbria MP Tim Farron, who has called for Wales’ measures to tackle the number of second homes to be applied to England, said that it showed that the measure were “a rush job to try to save the PM’s skin”.

“Excessive second home ownership kills rural communities, yet the Conservatives have now given an incentive to make things even worse for us,” the former Liberal Democrat leader said.

About 772,000 households with two homes will benefit from £800 in October instead of the £400 received by those with just one.

About 61,000 people with three homes are in line for payments totalling £1,200. The Chancellor himself the owner of three homes in the UK, but has said that he will donate any money he receives from the scheme to charity.

‘Impact’

The Welsh Government confirmed last week that they will crack on with tax hikes on holiday lets that do not rent out their properties for more than half the year.

Following a consultation, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said that she did “recognise the strength of feeling among self-catering operators” but would not be changing the planned law changes.

Some holiday let owners had argued that become unviable if planned law changes go ahead next year.

From April local authorities will be able to set council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties to 300% from April 2023.

The criteria for self-catering accommodation being liable for business rates instead of council tax will also change at the same time, from 70 to 182 days. This will stop second home owners from classifying homes as businesses because they are let out for one fifth of the year.

“As part of the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, we are committed to taking immediate action to address the impact of second homes and unaffordable housing in communities across Wales, using the planning, property and taxation systems,” Rebecca Evans said.

“As we continue to progress the package of measures and drawing on the latest evidence base, we will keep under constant review the whole range of levers available to use and how they may be deployed most effectively to meet our policy objectives and avoid any unintended consequences.”

She added that “I recognise the strength of feeling among self-catering operators and have listened to the representations from individual businesses and industry representative bodies.

“There is limited evidence available in relation to some of these considerations and I am grateful to the sector for providing additional information they have gathered from their members.

“This has been taken into account in completing the Explanatory Memorandum and Regulatory Impact Assessment, which makes use of the available evidence. I recognise that the stronger criteria may be challenging for some operators to meet.

“The purpose of the change is to help ensure property owners are making a fair contribution to local communities, for example by increasing their contribution to the local economy through greater letting activity or by paying council tax on their properties.”


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Cathy Hill
Cathy Hill
6 months ago

If you live in an estate that has been destroyed by decades of economic policy you will never understand you get four hundred quid, which is not enough, but if you own two homes you get eight-hundred quid AND you already had a home that, thanks to wealth, is insulated correctly (and not by a cowboy firm that undercut everyone else on the tender list, gave a counsellor an envelope and then did an improper job because they know the councils have no recourse or will to pull you up on it) and has an excellent heating system that is… Read more »

Marc
Marc
6 months ago

When the Tories give out money you can guarantee the wealthy will be at the front of the queue

Cynan
Cynan
6 months ago

Money looks after money eh? Maybe Y Senedd should look at a windfall tax on people with second homes in Cymru. Maybe, I dunno. £400 per person?

G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
6 months ago

This cannot be right ,ust or fair or is this the Tory Westminster norm

I believe it is so

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
6 months ago

Robert Jenrick, whose unlawful approval of planning consent saved a Tory donor £50M, has seven official homes. Rishi Sunak only has three besides 11 Downing Street which he moved out of because his wife hates the neighbours.

Last edited 6 months ago by Kerry Davies
tired of this
tired of this
6 months ago

None of this is ever as clear cut as people might like. I am classed as a second home owner. I own two small houses in the same town, barely fifteen minutes walk from each other. Both inherited. Neither one is big enough for my family, but as one needs considerable refurbishment (no hot water, no heating, for example) we live in one and use the other as a comfortable store and occasional workspace. I am 70 and get less than £700 per month pensions. Over £300 goes to council tax on the ‘storehouse’. If my wife wasn’t still working… Read more »

I. Humphrys
I. Humphrys
6 months ago

Compulsory purchase should be the tool, until we get total Independence.These houses can be for rent or rent-to-buy. After independence, we can change that to purchase by Citizens of Cymru only, though In the case of the small bunch of very expensive properties, wealthy foreigners could then be encouraged to buy?

Orwig
Orwig
6 months ago

I thought the £400 was a discount on energy bills, not cash?
How can you donate a discount?

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
6 months ago

We all know yesterday’s anouncement was to distract us from the slimy sleazy goings on at No10. It hasn’t worked we will remember. It is no surprise that this rushed policy was not thought out properly and 2nd home owners will benefit as a result. The UK government is now rudderless and cast adrift in a sea of economic crisis. It’s what you get when all you are doing from day to day amending for one bit of sleaze or another.

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

A policy cobbled together to save their collective arses. No wonder it’s flawed. It’s better than nothing but has done nothing to address the flaws that contributed to the mess we are in. Energy unit prices need to be brought under control and driven back down to at least the status quo ante and preferably a bit lower. Highly profitable corporates do not need a green levy to subsidise them so cut it. Stop giving grants to all comers who see green initiatives as the fattest cash cow that ever walked our fields. By all means support community energy initiatives… Read more »

Ap Kenneth
6 months ago

As distasteful as it is that second home owners will get two discounts on their fuel bills I think we are concentrating on the wrong thing here. The money actually goes to the energy companies where one of three things could happen 1) Monies are re-invested into green projects – unlikely given fossil fuel companies track record 2) They could be re-invested in projects in the North Sea – unlikely as the basin is now depleted and only marginal gains likely remain 3) The monies are used to pay dividends, buy back shares or pay large bonuses. The monies do… Read more »

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