We received a response from the Government that they had no plans to levy business rates on student landlords.
While, it is disappointing the Government do acknowledge that the current Fair Funding Review must take account of the matter that we have raised with the support of more than 850 local residents. Quite how the Government do this from 2021, when government grant to councils will have been phased out by 2020 is not explained! We have though reminded the Government of the problem their policy direction is causing councils with large student populations and had an assurance that the Government will deal with the issue.
Our West Lancashire will continue to pursue the best interests of council taxpayers in this matter, unlike the local Conservatives who walked out of the Chamber on the evening our council motion on the subject was debated, or the local Labour councillors who voted the motion down, even though their Labour colleagues in Liverpool had passed a very similar motion. We will in particular, follow closely the progress of the government’s Fair Funding Review and continue to make the case that the current system is unfair on areas like West Lancashire with high proportions of student housing.
UPDATE 25/11/17: The petition totalling 837 signatures (including paper version) has been sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Thank you for your support.
Student landlords do not pay for the local public services their tenants use because student accommodation is currently exempt from business rates and student households are exempt from council tax. Yet, student landlords have need of the police, fire and other services 365 days a year while their tenants generate much need of local council services, e.g. extra street cleansing, waste management, and environmental health demands (noise abatement and poor housing conditions).
West Lancashire currently loses £1.3million in council tax annually from student accommodation which is exempt from council tax. Presently, the Government provides a grant to cover this loss, at least in part. However, there will be no grant funding by 2020 meaning further reductions in local services. Inevitably, this will mean fewer street sweepers, more litter, and longer waiting times.
Students are a very welcome part of our community and our local economy, but live in concentrated areas of the Borough in densely populated conditions. This has a big impact on services in these parts of the Borough.
Student households should continue to be exempt from council tax, as students are on low (and loaned) incomes.
Student landlords are profit –making businesses, and should pay properly for the demands their business model makes on public services.
Therefore, councils should be given powers to bring student landlords within the scope of business rates in the same way that hotels, self-catering and holiday lets are within the scope of business rates and this petition is to be sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer requesting this change.
We, the undersigned call upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer to tackle our £1.3 million student town funding gap in West Lancashire by giving local councils powers to bring student landlords within the scope of business rates in the same way that hotels, self-catering and holiday lets are within the scope of business rates.
The End our looming student town funding gap petition to Chancellor of the Exchequer was written by Promoted by Our West Lancashire and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.