Levelling-up Agenda — [Mrs Maria Miller in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:18 pm on 15th June 2021.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 3:18 pm, 15th June 2021

That is a free measure the Government could take to have real power. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention.

The Welsh Government have given local authorities the power to increase council tax on second homes. Liz Saville Roberts talked about Gwynedd, which has been able to double the council tax on second-home owners in those areas. What has that done? It has provided a disincentive in some areas for excessive second-home ownership. It has also led to revenue that can be spent on supporting schools, post offices, buses and other local services, which are losing resource because of the lack of a permanent population. I call on the Minister to do something free but powerful.

Extreme circumstances that come about quickly require a response equally extreme and quick. If the Government are not to get a reputation for taking their eye off rural Britain and leaving rural communities behind—for example, leaving areas such as mine in level three for levelling up—they need to act, not in autumn or winter, but before the summer, to save my communities from the new clearances.