The plan to increase council tax on second homes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park will be discussed live on national TV tomorrow.
A plan by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and the district councils covering the Dales to increase the tax will be debated on BBC One’s The Big Question at 10am.
The show is presented by broadcaster Nicky Campbell.
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It is understood he will be joined on the show by Richmondshire community leaders, including Upper Dales county councillor and YDNPA member John Blackie, and David Butterworth, YDNPA chief executive.
District council and YDNPA officials hope that by increasing the council tax on second homes, they will reduce the number in the park and lower house prices to a level more obtainable by families who want to live and work permanently in the area.
It is felt that more families are needed to ensure the Dales communities remain vibrant and local services, such as schools, are viable.
Mr Butterworth admitted in a report to YDNPA members that everything else that had been tried over the last 20 years had “had limited or no impact in tackling the long-term socio-economic decline of remote rural areas”.
He added: “Second home ownership is inadvertently contributing to the long term decline of the area.”
Members of YDNPA voted 12 to 9 in favour of the plan to increase council tax by up to five times the current level at a meeting in December.
The increase would be part of a package of measures to halt the decline.
However, Cllr Blackie, while supporting work to attract more families and people of working age to move to the national park, was one of those who voted against the council tax increase.
He claims the scheme will not do what it is intended and will instead undermine the housing market in the Upper Dales.
He added in a message to interested parties this week: “It is several bridges too far and an unwelcome exercise in social engineering.”
To find out more about The Big Question click here.
To read a report on the plan to increase council tax click here.