MP TIM Farron says he has secured a promise from the housing minister to close "a second homes tax loophole".

The Westmorland and Lonsdale MP had a meeting at Westminster with Kit Malthouse MP, to discuss the issue of some second-home owners paying no council tax.

Mr Farron said the minister confirmed he was planning on "strengthening laws" to ensure property owners were "properly contributing towards the local economy".

Currently, said Mr Farron, second-home owners can avoid paying council tax if they declare their home is being let for holiday use and register it as a business.

Mr Farron said the housing minister told him it was hoped to bring the law into England in line with Wales, where a property must have been let out for 70 days per year to qualify as a business.

The former Lib Dem leader also raised his idea of changing the law so that turning a first home into a second home requires planning permission. That would enable local councils to reject anyone seeking permission in a community already under pressure from "excessive second home ownership"

Mr Farron also raised the case for council tax to be doubled on second homes to discourage "absentee ownership" and raise funds to subsidise at-risk local services.

He said the housing minister calculated such a move would raise around three quarters of a million pounds in the village of Coniston alone. Mr Malthouse said he would "go away and look more closely at the idea".

Mr Farron suggested to the minister that either the Lake District or Yorkshire Dales national parks would work as good pilots to test out the tax rise.

"I’m delighted the Government are set to close this tax loophole," said Mr Farron.

“Every time this loophole is exploited, and second-home owners avoid paying council tax, it becomes more and more likely that key public services, whether it be the local post office, bus service or village school will no longer be viable."