The apparent surge in second homes around East Devon (and how Jupp hopes to end it)

Simon Jupp reveals how proud he is to have helped navigate the “Levelling Up and Regeneration Bil” through Parliament when he worked as a PPS in the department. (That is between 14 October when he sold his soul to Fizzy Lizzy and 20  October when she resigned. Rishi Sunak became PM on 25 October and sacked the Levelling Up minister.) – A week really is a long time in politics.

He claims this bill will help to damp down the market for second homes, let’s hope EDDC takes advantage of it and it does.

What he doesn’t discuss are the various mortgage guarantee schemes and tax benefits introduced by the government in recent times that have only served to pump up an already buoyant housing market, including by Chancellor Sunak. – Owl

Simon Jupp

When I walk around the villages and towns of East Devon, the number of holiday lets and second homes is becoming ever more apparent.

Figures reveal a surge in second home ownership since the pandemic hit. There are 13,363 second homes in Devon, 11 per cent more than a year ago. It is undoubtedly warping the local long-term rent and buy market as a wander past any estate agent window will amply demonstrate.

As I’ve said many times before, homes for long-term rent and buy are increasingly out of reach for people who grew up in East Devon – including key workers who need to work in the NHS or in local schools. It’s right to take proportionate action.

Last month, I voted for the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. It’s a bill I was proud to help navigate through Parliament when I worked in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. It’s a wide-ranging bill, including eye-catching powers for councils to double council tax on second homes and double council tax on homes empty for more than a year.

East Devon District Council is discussing how to bring these powers into place locally. I hope they use the new powers offered by the Conservative government once brought into law.

After a hard-fought campaign by Conservative MPs in the South West, the government has also closed a loophole that lets second homes avoid paying council tax by registering as a holiday rental, signing up for business rates, and then receiving business rates relief. To be business rated, properties will need to be available to let commercially for 140 days a year and actually let commercially for 70 days a year.

I understand these changes won’t be welcomed by everyone. I do believe people have the right to spend their money purchasing properties available to them. However, I believe higher council tax on second homes and making sure genuine short-term lets can carry on as businesses is fair and proportionate action to take.

As your MP, I want to make sure local people can get on the housing ladder, too.