Hello #Plymouth – I was back on my feet in the Commons today challenging Ministers on their slow pace of action on addressing the housing crisis in the South West.
I want to see more tourists in the Westcountry. We are only a few months away from millions of people heading to the far South West. But it also means we are only a few months away from more people falling in love with our region and buying up first homes to be used as second homes which are often left empty for most of the year.
I want to new powers for councils to raise council tax on second homes, powers to licence and cap the number of Airbnbs and short term holiday lets in a community and a greater focus on first homes, not second homes. And I want Ministers to introduce those powers before the summer so our communities can start fighting back after a decade of being hollowed out by second homes and AirBnBs.
The South West is a brilliant place to visit but if it is unaffordable for local people to live here, then we won’t be able to sustain the tourist market, attractions and services tourists and local people use. It’s time Ministers acted. If they won’t, the next Labour government will.