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Country News - 2005

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Delight in Dales over second home back-down

Wednesday 07 December 2005

HOWLS of rage emitted from the moneymen in the City of London yesterday over a Treasury back down which was greeted with applause by hundreds of young couples in the Yorkshire Dales.

The anger came from city institutions like banks, insurance companies and mortgage lenders when it was realised that, in his pre-Budget statement to Parliament on Monday, Chancellor Gordon Brown had scrapped plans to allow wealthy individuals to boost their pension portfolios by buying second-homes as investments.

Properties in the Dales already average more than £200,000, driven sky-high by wealthy second-home owners, forcing local couples out of their villages because they can no longer afford to buy or rent a home.

The initial Treasury proposal was greeted with dismay in the Dales for it meant that a wealthy businessman, already paying 40% income tax on his earnings, would have had tax relief when buying a second home. In other words, he could in effect buy a £200,000 cottage for £120,000 - giving him yet another huge advantage over a local needing to pay the full amount.

Yorkshire Dales national park chairman David Butterworth protested vehemently at the proposal and yesterday it emerged that it had been scrapped, much to the dismay of city businessmen anticipating a bonanza of property buying when the new rules came into force in April.

But an overjoyed Mr Butterworth commented: "This is very good news for the Yorkshire Dales National Park and for every other national park because it will remove the additional carrot dangling before people with some money to invest who are considering buying a second home here.

"We are glad that the Chancellor has not only listened to the worries that have been expressed about this proposal but also has taken them into account and changed his mind."


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