MP calls for closure of tax loophole impacting small businesses during pandemic

A Cumbrian MP says second home-owners could be claiming £15million in South Lakeland alone because of loopholes in the Government's support for small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron says they are eligible for £10,000 grants and he wants the Government to close the loophole immediately.

Mr Farron says thousands are getting that when they're actually just a second home. He said: "They're not actually holiday lets they just register as if they were. You're allowed to do that - they're not breaking the law - but the Government's been looking for the last year at whether they could close this loophole.

"Well now Parliament's given the Government the power to do extreme things in short order this is one of those loopholes they could fix just like that.

"The Welsh assembly Government has done that. I'm calling on our Government to do that."

He continues: "That's £15million in South Lakeland alone that's being given to people potentially who absolutely don't need it and for whom it was never designed when at the same time I've got small businesses that have been set up for less than a year not getting a penny; businesses that are run out of people's back bedrooms or kitchen tables not getting a penny.

"We need to divert that money away from people who don't need it to businesses that do."

The Government says properties are assessed to make sure they qualify and all policies are continually under review.

But it asks that "people respect the spirit of the measures, and not misuse the support" offered.