Shelter in second-home tax drive

Homelessness charity Shelter has called on local authorities to double council tax for second-home owners as it bids to highlight Britain’s ‘housing inequality crisis’.

The charity this week targeted rural media on the effects of rising housing costs on communities in the countryside, where an increase in second-home ownership has made many homes unaffordable for local people.

It will try to raise awareness about the social and economic impact of declining house prices in pockets of cities such as Edinburgh and Manchester later this year.

The charity plans to use regional statistics as news hooks and ‘put a human face on the housing crisis’ through case studies. Celebrities such as Gail Porter are endorsing the campaign.

Shelter claims the media often overlook the growing inequality in housing wealth and the problems faced by people at the bottom of the housing ladder.

It argues that because there is a perception of houses as sources of supplementary income in old age, many people hang on to bigger houses than they need while a significant minority cannot afford to buy. In other areas, empty accommodation in declining neighbourhoods leads to anti-social behaviour and abandonment.

MPs will be presented with a report on Shelter’s findings across different areas of the UK in the run-up to the next general election.

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