Yorkshire Dales second homes tax to be debated on live TV

Askrigg in Wensleydale. Photo: Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

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.

This story continues after the adverts:


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.




  1. Well done, John Blackie, for not supporting the idea of a punitive rate of council tax for second homes. The idea, whilst well intentioned, is a blunt instrument which will not solve a problem. If it does lower house prices, the decrease will be indiscriminate. Everyone’s property values will drop, putting some home owners (and those least likely to afford a hit) into negative equity. Second homes will simply become the reserve of the rich.

    The idea is not just punitive; it is divisive too. It assumes that second home owners bring nothing to the table and it ignores and disrespects their contributions to local communities and businesses.I live in the YDNP at weekends and during school holidays – I spend a third of the year here and once I retire, I plan to move here permanently. I’m not a banker on bonuses, I’m a school teacher who works overtime and saves like mad to spend as much time here as possible. And when I’m here, I support my local pub and shops, and volunteer for two local good causes. I do my bit and I pull my weight, and many of my full-time neighbours are horrified that this is how Yorkshire’s public servants might treat me.

    WIthin 500 yards of my house, there are two family-size houses that have sat empty for four or more years, both of them owned by local families whose youngsters DON’T want to move into them or who feel no need to sell them – and that is their prerogative. The notion that a momentary decrease in property prices and penalising hard work or success through a punitive council tax is a fallacy – who will buy these homes if there isn’t the demand because there aren’t the necessary local jobs outside of farming and tourism?

    Many of the youngsters who have left our Dale to work abroad or further their careers in other parts of the UK have done so to widen their horizons and follow their dreams – not because they can’t get a foot on the property ladder. And have the YDNP even considered the number of holiday cottages that are locally-owned by farming families who have had the good sense to diversify? Are they going to punish them too?!

    Shopping and filling my car up locally, and regularly supporting the pubs in nearby villages, I probably put as much into the local retail economy as some of my full-time neighbours who shop for groceries online, drive to Tesco at Catterick or take their holidays abroad. Yet I’m not here clogging up the doctor’s surgery, wearing out the roads, asking for Housing Benefit or having my bins emptied.

    It’s always easy to blame or penalise someone else for a complex problem and to pick on minoritries who are stereotyped as wealthy and yet don’t have a voice. Mrs Thatcher (of whom I am no great fan) called this the ‘politics of envy’.

  2. Good points well made!
    In addition over the years the quality of the housing stock has improved significantly due in part to the second home and tourist industry. Not all Holliday let’s stay as such. It was my intention to buy a home that needed renovation and after a few years move into it on a permanent basis. If the tax changes I won’t be able to afford the extra cost and still invest in the renovations and all the financial contributions this would bring to the community.
    In Leeds as many other areas we have affordable housing. Surely rural communities should be demanding the same from their councils. Why penalise investors and put them of contributing to communities. Yes I’m aware of the challenges of rural communities, however I don’t believe this action will have a positive impact!

Comments are closed.