Minister confirms plans to follow Wales in introducing a licencing scheme for second homes in England
The UK Government’s Communities Minister has confirmed plans to follow Wales and introduce a licencing scheme for second homes in England.
Rachel Maclean confirmed the move was being considered in response to a question from Labour MP Luke Pollard (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport), who is shadow defence minister but was speaking from the backbenches.
Mr Pollard said in Devon and Cornwall “families are being turfed out of their private rented properties under section 21 notices and their homes are being turned into second homes and Airbnbs”.
He said: “Does the minister agree… that it’s time not only for increases in council tax on second homes, but also a proper licensing regime so communities can decide how many second homes should be in their community to stop them being hollowed out?”
Ms Maclean said: “Yes, and I very much thank him for bringing this issue to the floor of the House… We are looking at this issue of registration on second homes through the measures in the levelling up bill and through other frameworks.
“It’s absolutely right that we understand that naturally people want to go on holiday to these beautiful areas, but there is also an impact on communities, and that is why we need to have this registration scheme so we can understand and better mitigate that.”
The introduction of a licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation in Wales was confirmed last year as part of the co-operation agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.
The scheme is part of a package of measures which aims to address the negative impact second homes and short-term holiday lets can have on the availability and affordability of housing for local people.
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething launched a consultation on the proposals last December, which runs until 17 March.
The Welsh Conservatives have strongly opposed proposals to curb the number of second homes and in October last year, Shadow Housing Minister Janet Finch-Saunders described the measures already put in place as creating “a tsunami driving landlords to sell up”.
The Senedd Member for Aberconwy also claimed efforts to reduce the number of holiday homes in communities is exacerbating the shortage of private rental properties in Wales.
“The anti-multiple ownership policies stemming out of the Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour cooperation government are driving private landlords out of the sector,” Mrs Finch-Saunders told the Senedd.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.