Labour pledges second home tax as part of housing push

24 Sep 18

Labour would bring in a new tax on holiday homes and set up a national housing department, the party’s shadow housing secretary has told its annual conference.

John Healey promised a Labour government would “be the most radical government on housing” since the post-war administration.

Speaking in Liverpool this morning, he said a new national levy on second homes used as holiday homes would “strike a blow against housing inequality” and “help give homeless families the chance of a first home”.

An average levy of about £3,000 on around 175,000 second homes in England would raise £560m to help homeless children, the party said.

A “fully-fledged housing department” would “lead to the drive to fix the housing crisis”, Healey said.

He also pledged to “get councils building council housing again, and build a million new truly affordable council and housing association homes”.

“From government, we will lead a new national housing mission, which demands more of all – from commercial housebuilders to housing associations, from lenders to landlords, from tenants to local councils”.

He called on prime minister Theresa May to “stop dragging your government’s feet” and act to ensure the survivors of Grenfell got a new home soon.

“Why have nearly half the Grenfell survivors still not go permanent new homes?” he asked.

Responding to the proposed second home levy, Polly Neate, charity Shelter’s chief executive, said: “It’s good to see this proposal to fund vital homelessness support services.”

But she added: “At the same time, we must tackle the root causes of homelessness head on, including the devastating drought of social homes.”

The Resolution Foundation think-tank said the tax would be a “step towards addressing the concentration of property wealth” in Britain. 



May announced she would give housing associations £2bn from 2022 until 2028-29 last week, at a National Housing Federation conference.

However, the Local Government Association said the money was needed now – not 2022 – and for councils too.

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