It is wrong that second home owners pay no business rates and are exempt from council tax through a loophole, so I am delighted to support the government in getting this issue resolved on behalf of North Cornwall. Addressing this issue of fairness in the taxation system will be especially welcome in communities such as Padstow and Boscastle. The issue is something I have experienced first-hand, as before I was elected as MP, I did the post round in Rock for many years and saw the disparity between the Cornish residents who lived in the community year-round, and the swathes of homes only occupied in the summer. I am proud to have done my part in delivering this for my home community.
Across the country, many holiday lets are liable to pay business rates, rather than council tax, when an owner declares that they intend to let their property in the next year. They may also be able to claim rates relief of up to 100%. The changes announced will ensure that owners of properties that are not genuine businesses are not able to reduce their tax liability by declaring that a property is available for let but make little or no real effort to actually let it out.
We will also cut inheritance tax red tape for more than 200,000 estates every year, dramatically reducing the amount of paperwork many families fill out. Over 90% of non-taxpaying estates each year will no longer have to complete inheritance tax forms when probate or confirmation is required from 1 January 2022. None of the announcements will have any impact on the government’s finances or require legislation in the current Finance Bill.
Now we have taken back control of our legal immigration system by ending free movement and introducing a new points-based system, we must address the challenge of illegal immigration in order to properly control our borders and prevent further loss of life in the Channel and elsewhere. Our New Plan for Immigration is a step change in our posture towards illegal immigration and the criminals that facilitate it, meaning that attempting to enter the UK illegally is no longer worth the risk. It will be fair but firm, based on three objectives. Firstly, better protection and support for those in genuine need of refuge. Secondly, it will deter illegal entry, breaking the business model of people smuggling. Thirdly, removing more easily those with no right to be here.
It is clear from the terrible and tragic events over the past few years that people – including children – are dying while attempting to get to our county. This Government promised to take a common-sense approach to controlling immigration – both legal and illegal. Our New Plan for Immigration will deliver on that promise.