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April 24, 2020 4:00 PM

After years of campaigning by Coastal Lib Dems on second homes tax loophole, a local Tory MP suddenly wakes up to a problem.

David BeavanFor almost three years Lib Dem campaigner David Beavan (since elected as Southwold District Councillor in 2019) toiled long and hard with local activists to bring the second homes tax loophole issue to the public's attention.

Featured widely in local, national press and TV, the issue was taken to Lib Dem Federal conference by David, eventually raised in the House of Lords by Lib Dem Peers and finally taken up by the current Chancellor Rushi Sunak who agreed to hold a government review of second homes business ownership and rates. The review was launched 18 months ago by Sunak when he was a local government minister and has since been seemingly kicked into the long grass; the findings never having been published.

Back in 2018 there were cases of owners of second homes claiming their properties were holiday lets and in Southwold where around 60% of the properties are second homes, Lib Dem campaigner, David Beavan had asked why owners of some second homes were able to register as businesses, claiming their property is available for "holiday accommodation" for part of the year and pay business rates, on which they can get small business rate relief, rather than council tax - meaning local authorities can lose hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Now Central Suffolk Tory MP Daniel Poulter has woken up to the problem and realised that second home owners who are registered as a business could also apply for up to £10,000 from the government under the Covid-19 emergency support for small companies and he has asked Ministers to implement the findings of the study.

David Beavan now an elected East Suffolk Liberal Democrat councillor said: "I think that atlast we may may be winning this argument and I am delighted to hear that one of Suffolk's Conservative MPs is taking up this issue. It is a very serious concern that many of those with second homes may abuse the system like this - It would be easy for HMRC to demand proof that they are running a business."

Sources: EADT