A Cumbrian MP has accused the Government of 'twiddling their thumbs' while excessive second home ownership turns Cumbrian communities into ‘ghost towns’.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has been pressing the Government for action on a tax loophole closed which sees some second homeowners get away with paying no council tax by pretending to be a small business.

A Government consultation on closing the loophole ended in January 2019.

But Mr Farron said that housing minister Esther McVey has admitted that the Government is still looking through the responses to the consultation just over 12 months after it closed.

Claiming the situation showed the issue facing many rural communities in Cumbria was a ‘low priority’ for the Government, Mr Farron added: “At the moment, the loophole is being exploited so that people in council houses in Grasmere are subsidising wealthy second home owners from London.

“Councils are losing millions every year through this loophole that could be spent on keeping our communities vibrant."