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Second Homes in Coastal Areas

Volume 728: debated on Monday 20 February 2023

The Government fully understand that beautiful areas attract large numbers of holidaymakers and, therefore, large numbers of second homes. That is why we have introduced higher rates of stamp duty land tax for those purchasing additional properties, which will help to support local areas that have a large number of second homes.

The ability to double council tax on second homes is a real step in the right direction to help communities, such as mine in North Norfolk, that suffer from a high concentration of second homes. However, clause 73 of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill requires greater clarification. Currently, a district council such as North Norfolk benefits from just 8p in the pound from council tax revenue. Does the Minister agree that we ought to look at that clause and ensure that the communities affected by second homes are the ones that benefit from additional taxation raised?

My hon. Friend does a superb job of representing communities affected by large numbers of second homes. That is why the new council tax second homes premium will enable councils, particularly in areas such as his with a strong tourism industry, to generate significant additional funding for local services. If they introduce the maximum premium, they will benefit from double the council tax revenue. I am happy to discuss that issue with him in more detail.

The pandemic turbocharged the housing crisis in rural areas, especially in Devon and Cornwall. Families are being turfed out of their private rented homes under section 21 notices so that they can be turned into second homes and Airbnbs. Does the Minister agree with south-west supporters of the First Homes Not Second Homes campaign, which I run with Cornwall councillor Jayne Kirkham, that it is time not only for increased council tax on second homes but for a proper licensing regime, so that communities can decide how many second homes should be in their community, to stop them being hollowed out?

I thank the hon. Member for bringing this issue to the Floor of the House on behalf of his constituents and communities. We are looking at the issue of registration of second homes through the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill and other frameworks. We understand that, naturally, people want to go on holiday to beautiful areas, but there is an impact on communities. We need the registration scheme so that we understand and better mitigate that.