TA Newsflash

Labour’s policy launch – implications for holiday homes, ‘landlord licencing’, and devolved taxation

You will have seen the news reporting about the launch of the Labour Party’s policy document today which has been written by a commission headed by former PM, Gordon Brown.

The full report is available here.

Of particular note to colleagues will be the paragraph on page 79 under “Powers over housing and development” which reads, in part:

Local authorities should be all also able to regulate short term lets and holiday homes, which can have a negative impact on the availability of housing, and they should not need central government permission to manage landlord licencing.

This is all the detail on this proposal we have so far. It appears that the party would like to go further than the statutory registration scheme currently under consideration by the government towards a fully devolved scheme which would be more than just registration to include ‘regulation’ and ‘licensing’.

While is no specific reference in the report to a ‘tourism tax’ or ‘bed tax’ which had been rumoured to be included, the document does outline a general approach of devolving fiscal power to local government. The relevant paragraph on page 93 reads in part:

Devolution in England must involve greater power over spending and taxation decisions, but this must be done in a careful, managed way, to ensure equity in the distribution of public resources and access to services. Change should begin with greater certainty and flexibility for local government in present budgets and powers.

The specific recommendation reads:

We support fiscal devolution, where relevant and beneficial. Local decision makers are considering taxes and levies at a local level. It is for the Shadow Chancellor to make any announcements in due course.

These are currently only proposals and are subject to consultation, so we will try to get more detail and engage with the Labour Party on these proposals.