By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Labour MP launches ‘First Homes, Not Second Homes’ campaign

A Labour MP in the westcountry appears to be winning support for a campaign he has launched called First Homes, Not Second Homes.

Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP Luke Pollard says the surge in homes being bought as second properties and holiday homes since the start of the pandemic has “turbo-charged the housing crisis” in the west country, which already has some of the country’s highest house prices and lowest wages.

Pollard’s campaign claims that in Cornwall there are many small communities where more than one third of properties are being used as holiday lets and second homes - for example, St. Minver Lowlands, St. John, St. Minver Highlands and St. Merryn near Padstow.


The First Homes not Second Homes Manifesto calls for:

  1. New powers from government for councils to progressively raise taxes on holiday lets and unused second homes, up to a quadrupling of council tax where homes are left empty for much of the year;

  2. A licensing regime for second homes, Airbnbs and holiday lets – with a minimum of 51 per cent of homes in any community being for local people. Councils should have the powers to raise this level to reflect local circumstances;

  3. A ‘Last Shop in the Village Fund’ – powers for local councils to introduce a Community Infrastructure Levy on holiday lets and Airbnbs, administered by local authorities, to support local shops, pharmacies, post offices, and pubs;

  4. Commitment to build affordable homes and social housing across the South West with a priority for local people;

  5. Lock in the discount of new homes for future renters and buyers to ensure affordable homes are not lost after the first family moves on.


“The South West is the region most affected by second homes and holiday lets. We welcome people investing and enjoying our region, but we must ensure that local people are not priced and pushed out of their communities” says Pollard. 

“That is why I am calling for the South West to be the first region to commit to a first home not second home strategy so local people don’t have to move out of their community to get a job or a home they can afford.”

Another Labour politician - Jayne Kirkham, leader of the Labour group on Cornwall Council - adds: “In Cornwall we are seeing a collapse of the private rented sector and a dearth of affordable housing causing homelessness. It also creates a barrier to keyworkers coming to fill vital NHS, care, and other jobs cross Cornwall. 

“Since the pandemic, and the surge in domestic tourism we have seen local families evicted across the South West to see their homes turned into second homes and Airbnbs.”

Want to comment on this story? Our focus is on providing a platform for you to share your insights and views and we welcome contributions.
If any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.
Please help us by reporting comments you consider to be unduly offensive so we can review and take action if necessary. Thank you.

  • icon

    Tax grabbing and PR. Nothng here that will make any economic change whatsoever, apart from a detrimental one.

    Classic politicianing.

    Andrew Adnell

    Couldn't agree more. It beggars belief that a man with warped thinking on this scale was elected and is representing a community as an MP. Scary! He is clearly clueless. He mis-prioritised what ought to have been his number 1 recommendation i.e. build and ring fence more affordable housing in the area.

  • icon

    While I think points 2, 3 and 4 make a lot of sense points 1 and 5 could both be highly problematic or just plain vindictive.

    The properties used for holiday lets are often older properties close to the sea. While they may have wonderful views or proximity to the beach they often have very low EPCs and would be unable to be let as long term homes. They are often quirky or charming, which is lovely for a few days but not very easy to live with full time.
    Charging full Council Tax seems fair and administratively easy. If the houses are empty for most of the year they aren't using any services. Charging less is unnecessary, charging more is greedy and administratively complex. The use of these properties will vary hugely from year to year depending on fashion, weather, travel restrictions, the owners personal circumstances, etc. Varying levels of Council Tax based on the number of days of occupancy would be a complication Councils don't need.

    Point 5 may work for housing association rental properties but would cause problems for anyone else. If discounts were locked in for future buyers the properties simply wouldn't be properly maintained or improved. Tradesmen and builders merchants aren't going to give a discount just because someone lives in a house with a compulsory discount clause attached to it. We already have Section 106 to ensure some properties can only be sold to local people. A lot of leasehold flats have clauses in the lease that state the properties can't be used as holiday lets. Creating clauses and covenants based on current issues that apply to a property for as long as the property is standing should be avoided. Looking at some of the Land Registry titles from the 1980s would clearly show the difficulties. They are hugely out of date already and causing unforeseen issues. Property usage needs to be able to evolve as societies needs evolve. If restrictions are considered desirable they should be for a fixed term not the entire life of the building.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    ... Labour complaining about the collapse of the PRS !!! - is a bit ' rich '
    you reap what you sow, or as the Tories are calling it, - " Unintended consequences "

  • George Dawes

    I wonder how many second and indeed third etc homes labour mps have …

    That odious creature who had 3 including a beach hut springs to mind

    What’s that word …. Hypocrite…


    Wonder if the Duck House one MP claimed for was a second, third or fourth home?

  • icon

    I agree with what he has proposed. I live in north Devon. In sone villages, there is over 70% housing taken as second homes and holiday homes. Pubs, restaurants and shops cannot open as they cannot get staff. Businesses cannot attract talent to the area as people cannot find anywhere to rent and those businesses are thinking of moving out of the area. Something has to be done.


    Make long term rental more attractive for landlords and we'll go for it as it's less work than holiday lets but currently it's less attractive than holiday lets in some areas.

    In my experience, in most areas, there are affordable ( if less desirable) areas within traveling distance to the areas which are no longer affordable.

    I'm thinking I might need to settle for Nice or Cannes instead of Monte Carlo to buy in next as Monte Carlo is no longer affordable, but you won't hear me complaining!

    Andrew Adnell

    Then lobby your myopic MPs and council to build thousands of ring fenced low cost housing! And lobby them to reverse the many punitive tax and other laws that keeps driving private landlords away from long term rentals to short - term holiday lets! It's not rocket science.

  • icon

    Hi. I agree with everything Jo says. As one of the Cornish landlords affected I have a holiday let in the area. It was originally not planned to be a holiday let but when the build was completed last year and in view of the ever more oppressive anti landlord legislation I decided that I would take the easier and less complex route of letting as a holiday let. It has proved more profitable and much less stressful than my other properties especially the licenced student HMO.
    I have another new build in progress in a Cornish seaside town and I ccertainly incline towards letting that the same way.
    Perhaps the message is finally permeatihg through to local councils and government that any new legislation does have " unintended consequences " and that instead of blaming landlords for their own lack of a properly thought out housing policy they should consult the PRS and engage with them to come up with policies which will encourage rather than punish landlords and which will be fair to both parties.

  • icon

    Penny- Even as a landlord I see a unique problem in the south west, when the balance tips too far then it IS the job of any government to step in. I holiday there a lot and know a number of the locals, the pandemic has turbocharged the change from AST to holiday let/Airbnb, there are wholesale businesses which are looking to close due to not being able to find staff. This issue is unlike a lot of others, and we ALL have to help to find a solution.

  • Bob Humphrey

    This whole issue of holiday homes can be fixed by the current planning regulations. If the councils really want to fix it. All Rentals should have planning concent for renting. Then the council can control the number of approvals they give. Simple

  • icon

    I agree with the three comments above. But there are two different types of second home owner here. The first is the one who can afford a second home without needing much or any income from it and I doubt very much can be done about these because if they can afford to leave it empty they can afford to pay extra taxes. The other though are the landlords like us who have switched our model to Air B&B because BTL is no longer profitable or worth the hassle. They can get a bigger stick if they like but the only way to attract me back to BTL would be to remove section 24 and start to see us as part of the solution not the problem.


    Section 24 is one of the reasons landlords are switching to holiday lets. The other is the proposed removal of Section 21. Without the ability to make a profit and evict problematic tenants in a timely fashion the risk of being a traditional landlord is far greater than it should be.

  • icon

    Instead of trying to control the market - never works out well - BUILD MORE AFFORDABLE HOMES!


    But what is affordable, and affordable to who ? Will there ever be enough '' affordable'' homes ? I doubt it, and certainly not in my lifetime, this crises is all down to past and present governments who are busy trying to blame anyone and everyone else .

  • icon

    Bob, don’t agree on this one aren’t HMO licensing Schemes already doing this, is that not what Additional and selective are controlling. The worst part if you let to shares and subsequently let to a family then they can restrict you from going back to renting to shares. Have you not heard about Article 4.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up