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Tory MPs lobby government demanding Airbnb crackdown

A group of Conservative MPs has organised a lobby of the government to demand a clampdown on Airbnbs and other short lets.

The MPs all represent constituencies in Cornwall, with the member for St Austell and Newquay - Steve Double - taking the lead.

Opening a debate in the House of Commons he said: "There are 18,989 live listings in Cornwall on Airbnb and other platforms. The vast majority of those properties were built to be someone’s home and are now no longer available for local people to live in. By comparison, in October 2023, there were just 895 available residential listings in Cornwall on Rightmove. 


“Those holiday rentals are overwhelmingly in the coastal communities and tourist hotspots we are discussing. We are not against holiday lets. Tourism is vital, but there needs to be a balance. We need more housing that is genuinely affordable to local people, particularly for our key workers.

"The situation in Cornwall is serious. It is difficult to understate how bad it is. The perfect storm of increased demand, rocketing prices that outstrip average wages and a growing population has led to record numbers of people being on Cornwall’s housing register. 

“Last week, there were 26,136 people waiting to be housed in Cornwall. Then there are those households that are currently without a home: sadly, 857 households in Cornwall are in temporary accommodation, and 438 of them are families with children.

"The answer is not just to build more houses. Since the Conservatives took the lead [of Cornwall Council] in 2021 in accelerating house building: it has built 5,442 houses during that time, 1,322 of which are affordable and earmarked for people with a local connection. But over the past 20 years, Cornwall has had above-national average levels of house building, so our experience shows that we cannot simply build to meet the ever-growing demand. When a market is broken, we need the Government to intervene, and there can be little doubt that the housing market in Cornwall is currently broken."

Another Cornwall Tory MP - Cherilyn Mackrory, who represents Truro and Falmouth - told MPs in the same debate:  "This issue became most acute to me after Covid when I had a village constituency surgery in St Agnes on the north coast of my constituency. Within two hours I had had 15 constituents and families through the doors, and every single one was either being evicted or their rent was going up so much that they could not stay. 

“Pretty much all those properties were going to be flipped into Airbnbs. Since then, as a cohort of south-west Conservative MPs, we have been lobbying the Government to make changes in this area to ensure that we do not let this continue to happen."

However, the call has degenerated into a party political slanging match with Liberal Democrat Andrew George - a former MP in Cornwall. 

George has told the Cornwall Live website: "Inviting Conservative MPs to advise on the housing emergency in Cornwall is like asking the arsonist to put out their fire. 

“The Conservatives have poured petrol on the flames; handed out over £400m of taxpayers’ money to holiday home owners in Cornwall in the last decade and are still shelling out many £millions this year through a covert tax loophole they created, in spite of assuring us five years ago that they’d halt this scandal.

"Their policies, which have included turning Cornwall’s housing stock into a money-making racket for the wealthy and which has helped inflate local house prices beyond the reach of local families, are part of the problem. Not a solution. The Conservative government insisted that Cornwall accepts an extra 7,500 homes onto its already excessive housebuilding target, “to meet the growing demand for second homes".

“On top of this, they flatly rejected my proposal 13 years ago to introduce planning law which would restrict second and holiday homes and which would mean that any attempt to use a permanent home as a “non-permanent residence”, should require planning permission and would then come with higher taxes and restrictions. Thousands of local families still face eviction from their rented home to make way for yet another holiday let."

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    Nothing to do with the RRB then, or the tax differences between AirBnB and PRS?


    It appears not 😂😂

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    The RRB should encourage landlords to offer fixed term tenancies in order to avoid them switching to short term lets. The majority of landlords are not prepared to hand their properties over indefinitely.

    Robert Black

    Very true MPs are supposed to be intelligent people!


    @ Robert, MPs intelligent? The Houses of Parliament have never had a Nativity Play because they could not find three Wise Men. As for a Virgin . . .

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    Typical evasive politicians. They will all have been told in no uncertain terms, on numerous occasions, that nearly a decade of landlord bashing, in particular Section 24 will severely impact the PRS. Well, you reap what you sow.

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    Shouldn't have voted for Brexit then. Bumpkins. 😂


    Another one brain cell remainer who cannot let Brexit go. You lost a democratic vote and the majority was for Brexit.


    Interesting that France and Spain are lobbying eu to change 90 day rule so that all Brits with 2nd homes in those countries would be exempt prob bcoz the country has lost income from those visitors.

    Spanish minister explained that they didnt make the rule but have to go cap in hand to Brussels and ask essentially. That is what lack of sovereignty looks like and why so many wanted to leave. Control over laws and borders by our own citizens not by unelected euro mps Bumpkin! Although to be fair our current govt do not listen to their constituents either


    I’m still waiting for Brexit. This faux-Tory government have yet to enact it and stand up to the civil servants who opposed it.


    Are you lost? Why are you here? A totally irrelevant comment that bears zero reference to the post. Off to the Guardian with you. There's usually a bunch of Remoaners there that howl about Brexit on pretty well every subject

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    The government have caused this 😱😱 now they can hand it over to Labour 😂😂

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    Instead of trying to destroy another industry (holiday lets) they should stop attacking and maybe incentivise an industry that worked efficiently for decades (PRS).
    It is Conservative policies that have largely caused the problems in Cornwall. Section 24, freezing LHA at a ludicrously low level, far more generous tax treatment of holiday lets, the threat of EPC C, the upcoming loss of Section 21 and the rest of the RRB, Covid travel restrictions boosting the popularity of UK holidays, Working from Home. Why pay a fortune to live in London when you can buy a house in Cornwall for a fraction of the price? Especially if you still get paid London wages.
    Some of these sudden changes in behaviour will revert - people will realise Cornwall is a very long way from the life they were used to in London. Some will miss their family and friends, shops, theatres, proximity to airports, etc. Cornwall may be lovely when the sun shines but a couple of wet, miserable holidays at vast cost will soon remind people why they always went abroad before Covid. Employers are now demanding more people turn up at the office on a more regular basis (tricky if you live 5 hours away).

    It will be interesting to see the new LHA amounts for April. Whether it will be sufficient to enable many local families to find a home. I suspect the government will use some very dated, spurious data to arrive at a totally inadequate figure. If it's insufficient to start with it will only help people who have existing tenancies and will do nothing for those who are currently homeless or facing eviction.

    Binning EPC C will undoubtedly help in Cornwall but has come far to late for a lot of people.
    Cornish landlords have more choice than most where the RRB is concerned. If they don't like the idea of losing Section 21 or allowing pets a great many of them have a realistic choice of switching their business model to holiday lets.
    Section 24 is the big one. If we were taxed fairly and allowed to retain some kind of profit a great many would settle back into traditional landlording. It's far easier to let an unfurnished house on a standard AST than it is to run a holiday let with constant changeovers, heavy reliance on customer feedback, loss or damage to furniture or kitchenware, etc.
    We do need a rapid, robust method of eviction when rogue tenants breach their tenancy agreement to give a greater degree of confidence in the PRS. With so many good tenants unable to find a home it's bizarre the government makes it so difficult and slow to evict bad tenants.

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    If it was their home they wouldn’t be facing eviction unless being repossessed by the lender.

  • David Hollands

    The government policies have resulted in Landlords selling up or switching to Holiday lets.
    Private landlords need the Interest tax relief reinstated before there are no private landlords left.
    The result will be Rents going up dramatically due to the shortage of private landlords.. Simple !!


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