LibDem housing spokesman Tim Farron has criticised the Government for its inaction on restricting second homes in rural holiday hotspots and revealed that estate agents in his constituency have told him the vast majority of property sales during the pandemic were to incomers buying holiday or second homes.
Farron, who until 2017 was leader of the LibDems, told MPs during a parliamentary debate that he had been calling on the government to take action since the ‘second homes boom’ kicked off nearly two years ago.
“I confess to being frustrated and angry that Ministers have yet to do anything meaningful to tackle the problem,” he said.
“As a result, many of living in rural communities feel ignored, abandoned and taken for granted by the Government, and we stand together today as rural communities to declare that we will not be taken for granted one moment longer.”
Farron is MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale in the Lake District, an area where locals are finding it increasingly impossible to afford local house prices, as the recent BBC programme The Lakes With Simon Reeve exposed.
“I have spoken to many local estate agents across our county. Around 80% of all house sales during the past two years have been in the second home market.
“Those who have the money to do so are rethinking their priorities, investing in the rising value of property and seeking a piece of the countryside to call their own, and we can kind of understand that.
“I do not wish to demonise anybody with a second home, or to say that there are no circumstances in which it is okay to have one, but let me be blunt: surely, someone’s right to have a second home must not trump a struggling family’s right to have any home, yet in reality, apparently it does.”
In July last year the Welsh government said it plans to clamp down second homes.