SECOND home-owners could be eligible for a £10,000 hand-out because of a loophole in the Government’s coronavirus aid scheme.
The oversight could put cash into the hands of well-off property owners – and cost the taxpayer billions of pounds.
Under a rescue plan for small firms hit by the lockdown, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has scrapped business rates for the coming year.
Those who qualify for will also be eligible for a £10,000 grant.
But some second homes are registered as a business and the owners therefore avoid paying council tax.
If they are let let for at least 140 days a year, they can be assessed for business rates and most are exempt from paying anything.
But because they qualify for business rate relief, they may also access the £10,000 Government grant designed to support small businesses struggling to survive the impact of the virus.
There are 1.9 million homes that are buy-to-let properties according to the Resolution Foundation think tank.
Lib Dem MP Layla Moran said: “The idea that, at a time like this anyone might take advantage of support measures when they do not need them is appalling.
“This isn’t meant to be a handout for second home owners. It’s scandalous this poorly designed scheme has such a massive loophole. It needs to be closed.
“No doubt some will access this help because they are genuinely running a small business and rely on this income, but we have to make sure that is always the case.”