By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Council chief slams holiday lets 'tax subsidy' scheme

A Liberal Democrat council leader says all properties - even those in properly established lettings businesses - should be charged council tax. 

Julian Brazil is the Liberal Democrat leader of the district council in South Hams in Devon, which includes popular holiday lettings destinations such as Salcombe, Totnes and Dartmouth.

Writing in the local media, Brazil is sharply critical of existing taxes applied to holiday home businesses.


“It’s no surprise the Government’s half-hearted attempt to stop houses switching from council tax to business rates has been a damp squib” he writes on the Devon Live website.

He continues at length, saying: “In the South Hams, of the nearly 2,000 such properties, only around 20 have switched back to council tax. At the same time huge layers of rules, regulations and bureaucracy have been created at the Valuation Office to try and make sense of this nonsense.

“Pointless and needless jobs have been created that will more than consume any revenues raised. For a government that professes to be against red tape and for levelling up, it has managed to achieve the exact opposite. 

“These are the same properties it saw fit to give up to £20,000 during Covid – despite there being a bonanza in ‘staycations’ due to the travel restrictions. 

“Why does the Government think council taxpayers should be subsidising these holiday let businesses?”

He says it would be much simpler and fairer to just charge all domestic properties council tax, irrespective of whether they are letting businesses.

Brazil’s unhappiness with the government extends to the slowness of the Levelling Up Bill now going through Parliament. Because of scrutiny by MPs, it has not yet become law so one of its provisions - allowing councils to levy much higher tax on additional homes - cannot yet be implemented.

Brazil goes on: “Surprise surprise, the legislation to allow authorities to charge double council tax on second homes has slipped. It looks like we won’t be able to bring this in until the 2025-26 financial year. 

“It would have raised tens millions of pounds – money Devon needs – all paid for by those lucky enough to have not one but two or more homes.“

Brazil’s desire for the new Liberal Democrat administration in the South Hams to get to work changing things appears to have gone on ice, however.

In the same article as he so harshly criticised home owners who let to holidaymakers he says he wants his administration to be “all systems go”.

But then he adds: “Our first executive meeting has been delayed until June 28. I’m taking a short break”

You can read the full article here.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up