Second home owners in Fife will get almost £1m to help with energy bills

Second home owners in Fife will net almost £1m in the energy bill rebate announced by the Government.

Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 7:00 am

It’s the third highest total of any region in Scotland.

Every home in the UK will get a £400 rebate under the Chancellor’s cost of living plans - and that includes people who own additional homes.

In Fife there are just over 2400 second home owners.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (Pic: John Devlin)

The approximate value of the £400 refund would total some £968,000.

In 2018, a report compiled by former Green MSP, Andy Wightman, revealed half of properties in Elie and Earlsferry were second homes

In total the automatic rebate, due in October, is worth £71million to the region’s 179,000 households.

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Fife has over 2400 second home owners - many of them in the East Neuk.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new cost of living support package has doubled the previous offer of a £200 discount, announced in February, and has also changed the scheme into a grant rather than a loan to be repaid.

It will go to every home regardless of need – including second homes, with those who own more than two standing to benefit multiple times over.

There are more than 301,000 official second homes across Great Britain, according to figures gathered by our sister website, NationalWorld, from the respective nations’ governments.

If each receives a £400 energy discount, the total bill to the Government will come to £120.5 million.

National Records Scotland figures show there are 23,890 second homes, with owners set to benefit from £9.6 million in grants.

The scheme will not extend to Northern Ireland, although the Treasury will provide funds for the devolved government to put in place an equivalent.

The Chancellor’s plans to help households with the cost of living have been broadly welcomed.

Think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said that overall the energy grant was a good way to help struggling households who will not be eligible for other support, and that excluding second homes may not be logistically possible.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) described the overall plan as “a genuinely big package of support”.

But IFS director Paul Johnson did question whether the universal approach of delivering some of Mr Sunak’s policies was the best method, rather than targeting support at those who need it most.

“Whether it’s needed for all households, I think, is more of a difficult point,” he told BBC Radio 4 in an interview last week.

He added: “It really will mean a lot of people who don’t need this help will get it - people who are on quite high incomes and, indeed, the very, very large numbers of households who saved a great deal over the Covid period.”

Government documents published when the Chancellor first announced a £200 energy rebate stated it would be too complex to deliver the cash via a non-universal route.

“Delivering a scheme with means-tested eligibility criteria would add to the administrative cost and complexity and would contradict the aim of a scheme designed to support all domestic electricity customers who will be experiencing the energy price shock,” it read.