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Labour council tax freeze ‘not for empty buy to lets or second homes’

Labour’s much-publicised pledge to freeze council tax for the next year excludes empty buy to let properties and second homes it has been revealed.

Party leader Sir Kier Starmer made the pledge at the launch of Labour’s local elections campaign at the end of last week but it’s now been discovered that some properties would be exempt.

It isn’t clear whether Labour would allow councils unlimited tax rises on empty BTL and holiday lets (where the investors pay the council tax) and on second homes, while freezing council tax on owner-occupied properties, but the exclusions were announced by Starmer in an interview with the BBC at the weekend.


He also denied that the concept of a council tax freeze was entirely hypothetical, given that Labour was not in power in Westminster and those local authorities it ran were increasing council tax roughly in line with Tory-run authorities.

“Now, it’s not hypothetical, because the money we would use is the profits from oil and gas companies, we would tax that, there’s £10 billion there” he told the BBC.

“The government could – just as they stole the idea of an energy price freeze from us – they could steal this and we could move all this in the next few weeks.

“Because if the government said we’ll match Labour and have a freeze on council tax for the next year, we would obviously vote for it. The money is available. And if the government was serious about dealing with the cost of living, they would take this Labour idea and run with it.”

Tory chairman Greg Hands says in response: “They have no plan to introduce this if elected. They’re taking the British people for fools.

“If Labour were serious about cutting council tax Labour councils would be doing it now.

“Instead, across the country it’s Labour-run councils with higher council tax, Labour-run Wales where bills have quadrupled, and Labour-run London where council tax has gone up 9.7 per cent.”


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