As the General Election draws ever nearer, campaign trails are well underway as party leaders jostle for position and more importantly, votes from the undecided members of Britain’s electorate.
Nick Clegg has just introduced the Liberal Democrat’s Countryside Charter, under which homeowners with additional property in rural areas could face paying double rates of council tax.
Unveiling his proposals, Mr Clegg said it was essential that local residents were no longer priced out of the property market. The Countryside Charter will see local authorities able to charge up to 200% council tax in certain areas.
On a visit to St Austell in Cornwall, Clegg highlighted that particular area as one that could benefit from the introduction of his new legislation. Clegg said that his levy could help, ‘particularly in such a wonderful part of the country as this is where there are so many people with second homes and where the prices, because of that, are way beyond the reach of many young people wanting to get their feet on the first rung of the property ladder.’
A 2011 census found that Cornwall was the local authority where the largest number of UK residents registered a second address. The census showed that 22,997 people who used a different property as their main place of residence had an additional home in Cornwall, used for 30 days or more per annum. Other leading areas were Gwynedd and North Norfolk. 
On launching the Countryside Charter, Mr Clegg also said that bridging the gap between rural and urban areas by providing high-speed broadband was high on his agenda. Clegg said that, ‘the Liberal Democrats want to unlock this potential so rural areas and the rest of the UK can thrive.’ He said that this could be achieved by providing, ‘good local services, appropriate infrastructure and more housing.’