Cons give £500m to holiday homes while local families struggle

Posted on: 21st March 2024


• 12,500 holiday homes
• 25,000 local families on housing waiting list
• 190 homes available for rent
• Conservatives gave £500 million of taxpayers’ money to holiday home owners

Conservatives handed over £500 million of taxpayers’ money to holiday home owners across Cornwall and Scilly since Andrew George first blew the whistle about these tax loopholes over a decade ago.

While local families have been evicted to make way for more Airbnb and holiday homes the Conservatives have helped wealthy property investors to the detriment of locals. They even forced Cornwall to accept another 7,500 homes “to accommodate the growing demand for second homes”; while penalising the poorest with such as the ‘bedroom tax’.

While you pay heavy Council Tax or business rate bills, holiday home owners instead have this paid for them by the rest of us. A few of the other invisible (to the public) tax breaks which holiday home owners enjoy may have been limited in the recent Budget, but that will have no impact on the growth of holiday homes. It’s a disgrace that local Conservative MPs should either misunderstand or misrepresent this announcement.

“This isn’t the politics of envy. It’s the politics of social justice” Andrew George

Notes – relating to bullet points
1. 12,500 homes registered for Business Rates not Council Tax. A further at least 13,500 homes registered for Council tax are known not to be used as primary residence – ie a second home.
2. Though there are over 20,000 individuals and families are recorded on the housing register at Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Council, this is known to be a significant underestimate of actual need. Where need surveys have been undertaken in local communities recently this reveals need to be at least double that recorded on the register.
3. This is taken from Rightmove for Cornwall and Scilly mid March 2024. It includes all homes with rental below £1500 pcm.
4. Since 2012 Holiday home could apply for small business rate relief and pay nothing. This has cost approx. £14m each year in Cornwall alone. I addition £242m of covid aid was paid to holiday home owners in Cornwall. The remainder of the estimated £500m is the tax foregone from holiday home owners taking advantage of the many other methods lawful methods of tax deductibility. Some proposed for closure in last Budget. Detail available from Andrew George’s “The Scandal of Housing injustice in Cornwall and how to put it right”. Housing Injustice Report December 2022