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Prime Minister Confronted on Second Homes

November 28, 2007 12:00 AM

Gordon Brown has backed away from answering questions over his planned reform of the Capital Gains Tax despite fears that it could intensify the shortage of affordable homes in Cornwall.

Last month the Government announced plans to introduce a flat tax rate of 18% for gains made on investments, including second homes, which previously would have been subject to a rate of 40%.

Andrew George MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives fears that the change will encourage wealthy people to invest in second homes, making it even harder for local first time buyers to get onto the housing ladder and today he put these concerns directly to the Prime Minister.

Mr George asked the Prime Minister: "Given that there are many areas like my West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency where, last year, five times as many homes were sold to second home buyers as to first time buyers, does he really believe that it helps to give further millions in a Capital Gains tax cut to the wealthy to have and to buy second homes when there are thousands of local families who cannot afford their first?"

Mr Brown, however, declined to respond directly and instead tried to attack the Conservative Party for failing to support his plans to build more homes across the country.

Mr George said: "This was transparently a non-answer. So transparent was it that it tells me I'm on to something which the Government either hadn't considered or may want to run away from."

"Natural justice sides with locals in need, not with wealthy second home buyers. I would have thought that a Labour Government would side with them too. The campaign will go on…"