Data on second homes in Devon and Cornwall can be found on the Government’s council taxbase website. The number of second homes for council tax purposes was 28,126 in 2010, and is at 26,853 this year. The Government recognise the adverse effects that large numbers of second homes can have on some areas, and we have introduced a number of measures to mitigate those effects, including high rates of stamp duty tax for those purchasing additional properties.
More west country families are being turfed out of their homes through no-fault evictions, only to find those homes appearing on Airbnb a few days later. Every west country family should have a first home, but we are becoming known as a region of second homes and holiday lets. Will the Minister meet a delegation from the First Homes not Second Homes campaign so that we can look at how the Government can adopt Welsh Labour’s proposal to charge 300% council tax on empty properties and second homes that are empty for much of the year, and ensure that every family can have a first home?
The hon. Gentleman is right to raise this issue, which was one of the main topics that came up when I met several of my colleagues just last week. I am more than happy to meet the delegation, as the hon. Gentleman suggests, and will try to arrange that as quickly as possible.