NDP speculation tax report vacant on details: BC Liberals

BC Liberals say that the data regarding the NDP’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax (SVT) shows that the tax is a continued failure, costing British Columbians thousands of dollars while hiding community-specific data and doing very little to make housing more affordable in B.C.

“Not only has this tax fallen well short of the $200 million it was supposed to collect, but this new data shows that in addition to failing to target speculators, the NDP is not investing the revenue they collect back into housing in the way they promised,” said BC Liberal Housing Critic Ben Stewart. “When the SVT was introduced, the NDP government promised the money would be spent on new housing in local communities where the tax was being collected, but the data has been hidden at the local level.”

BC Liberals say local governments have rightfully asked for an explanation on how the NDP’s original commitment of sharing the SVT revenue for community-specific projects is being done, as discrepancies between revenue and spending continue to appear. For instance, in the Central Okanagan, $4.1 million was collected but only $2.6 million was spent on housing.

“In addition to the mismanagement of this tax, the NDP has done little to make housing any more affordable for British Columbians, with residential home prices in B.C. continuing to reach new highs,” said BC Liberal Finance Critic Mike Bernier. “As funds acquired through the speculation tax aren’t being fairly distributed back to communities and housing continues to be more and more unattainable for so many in our province, it is clear the NDP is failing on this file.”

With average rents up over $2,000 per year in Vancouver since 2017 and a vacancy rate increase of just 0.1 per cent, no renters’ rebate in sight and limited progress on its promise to build 114,000 new housing units, the NDP’s record on housing lacks any meaningful foundation, say the BC Liberals.