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Lib Dems eye tax hikes on holiday homes

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The Liberal Democrats are considering tax hikes on holiday homes to stop second home owners “gutting” rural communities and pricing locals out of the market.

A senior Liberal Democrat told The Telegraph that the party was considering council tax surcharges and will come forward with specific proposals in the near future.

The Coalition Government has already forbidden councils from reducing the council tax paid on second homes, which until 2011 could be charged at a 50 per cent discount.

The Telegraph reports that Liberal Democrat councillors and MPs have also called for tax premiums on second home owners in order to keep property prices down in rural areas.

Speaking at his monthly press conference Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “We will constantly look at how we can make sure that people can of course invest in an area, that people who create a holiday home are not barred from doing so, but we don’t have this problem of whole communities being filleted, gutted, with just no prospect of local youngsters finding a home they can call their own.”

Holiday home owners have attracted ire in the past for driving up property prices while at the same time leaving their homes empty for the majority of the year, leading to the loss of services and amenities in local communities.

Clegg acknowledged that the only long-term solution to rising house prices is the construction of more homes in desirable areas.

He said: “One of the ways out of this is to make sure we build more homes on the scale we need.”

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