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March 2, 2022 9:06 AM

Local MP Tim Farron met with Lucy Frazer MP Financial Secretary to the Treasury this week to discuss the devastating effects of second home ownership on local communities.

Tim reported to the Minister that the rise in second home ownership and holiday lets has been catastrophic for local communities. Long-term, private tenants are being evicted from their homes so that landlords may convert the property into a holiday let. This has helped to create a 32% rise in holiday lets in the South Lakes from June 2020 to June 2021. Housing prices are also disproportionate and currently ten times the average wage in the area of £26,000.

Tim told the Minister that as individuals are being forced from their homes, not only has the council house waiting list risen by 70% in five years but local services are being affected as there is little reason to provide efficiency for homes that sit empty for the majority of the year.

Tim proposed to the Minister multiple new measures that would counteract these effects and provide resources to maintain local services including a rise in council tax on second homes and to make sure that holiday lets pay full council tax rather than business rates. These funds could be used to contribute to the maintenance of local services and to create new, affordable homes.

Tim said, "You know, this is a crisis that has become a catastrophe for my constituents and across the country; 80% of the properties bought in the Lake District in 2020 were second homes.

"The consequences of this are, of course, hitting local people the hardest - young couples are having to decide whether they can afford to try and raise a family in the South Lakes and quite often they can't.

"This is appalling, as people are already having to tackle the rising costs of living and now must also worry about home security. The fact that tenants are being forced from their homes by landlords so that they can turn an even higher profit with a holiday home is scandalous.

"Local communities are now at risk as if a town is sitting full of empty houses there is no reason for efficient local services such as bus routes, a local shop, and even schools. My meeting with the Minister allowed me to advocate for my constituents and communities affected by second homes and argue that there should be more restrictions on these houses and that they should be made available for local residents."