Holiday home owners claimed £71m in lockdown support cash – only 40% stays in the County

“New figures reveal that holiday home owners received £71 million of coronavirus business grants paid out in Cornwall…

…Of that just under £71m went to “holiday let business premises” – and Cllr Olivier said that £42m of that went to people living outside of Cornwall.”

Owl believes that similar or greater “leakage” occurs with many “Investing in the Region” projects such as  Hinkley Point C (where did all the EC “deprived region” grants to Cornwall go – could this explain why the Cornish voted leave?).

Not to mention the loophole which allows holiday home owners to avoid paying council tax or business rates on their properties.

Richard Whitehouse www.cornwalllive.com 

New figures reveal that holiday home owners received £71 million of coronavirus business grants paid out in Cornwall.

The Government provided cash to be paid to businesses which had been hit by the lockdown so that they could keep afloat.

It has previously been revealed that £50m went to holiday let owners but now updated figures show that they received much more than that.

Cornwall Councillor Cornelius Olivier has been highlighting the issue saying that it was “scanadlous” that so much of the money was going to holiday home owners.

Cornwall Council has been administering grants for businesses with funding provided by the Government – those grants are for either £10,000 or £25,000 subject to criteria set by the Government.

In information he received from Cornwall Council the Penzance East councillor said that by June 9 the council had paid out £177m in £10,000 grants to businesses.

Of that just under £71m went to “holiday let business premises” – and Cllr Olivier said that £42m of that went to people living outside of Cornwall.

The Labour councillor has been a longstanding campaigner against a loophole which allows holiday let owners avoid paying both council tax and business rates on their properties. By registering their holiday homes as businesses which have a rateable value less than that eligible to pay rates they avoid paying any tax or rates at all.

Cllr Olivier said that, of the money paid out to holiday home owners, £60m had gone to those which pay no council tax or rates – with £32m going to people outside the Duchy. 

The Penzance Central councillor, writing on his Facebook page, said: “It is scandalous that at a time when so many local businesses are struggling to survive and not getting the support they need, second homeowners who rent their properties out for a few months a year, (or less) as well as using it themselves and who receive a tax subsidy for doing so, are getting £10,000 to compensate them for their ‘financial hardship’.

“A second home is a combination of valuable investment, personal luxury and potential secondary income, they should not be treated as struggling local businesses in need of financial help.

“Even when ‘holiday let business premises’ are locally, or at least Cornish owned, I do not accept that ‘a holiday let’, unoccupied for a large part of the year, is a small local business in the normal sense of the word and that their owners are in desperate need of government financial support.

“A combination of the £10,000 grant and even a partial visitor season means that, regardless of the pandemic, this could be a bumper year financially for ‘holiday let business premises’.”

Cllr Olivier said that the issue further supported calls for the Government to close the loophole which allows holiday home owners to avoid paying council tax or business rates on their properties.

He said that he had written to his local MP Derek Thomas calling on him to help with getting the loophole closed and to help ensure more grants are available for businesses in Cornwall.