City council leader floats idea of Portsmouth landlords paying rates

IDEA Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson.
IDEA Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

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THE Lib Dem leader of Portsmouth City Council has voiced support for student landlords paying business rates.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said he raised the idea during a meeting last October with other senior figures in the Local Government Association and Tory communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson added that contrary to reports in the national press he was not in favour of giving local authorities the power to end the council tax exemption currently received by students.

He said: ‘There is an argument that says that landlords who rent properties to tenants that don’t pay council tax should pay business rates.

‘That is not the same thing as saying students should pay. It would mean landlords pay tax but students don’t.’

But Tory housing spokesman, Cllr Lee Mason, said: ‘Even it was landlords paying the tax it is inevitable that any increase would still get passed along to students.’