CPRE says second homes 'gutting' rural communities

A rural community Sir Andrew Motion says some rural communities suffer because of second homes owned by 'townies'

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The tax system should put countryside second homes beyond the reach of more people, according to the head of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Ex-poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion said "townies in the countryside" were "gutting" rural communities.

The CPRE president did not call for a ban on second home ownership, but told the Times he would make them "very expensive" through more taxes.

More than 165,000 people own weekend or holiday homes, the last census found.

The Times reports that Cornwall is the location of 23,000 of such homes.

'Scoot down in cars'

Sir Andrew said: "I think there's a question about whether second homes mean you have inert dormitory communities in the countryside through most of the week, very often lived in by people who scoot down in their cars, see their smart friends, don't join in the life of the community and don't feed into it.

"They're townies in the countryside, they make sure they're back in London in time to catch the 10 o'clock news on Sunday night. That means rural communities are gutted."

A row broke out recently over the Help to Buy initiative announced in the Budget, aimed at helping people get on the housing ladder.

Under the scheme, due to start next January, loans for those putting down 5% deposits would be guaranteed, but Labour critics said there was nothing to stop people using it to buy second homes.

The Treasury says this is not the point of the scheme but parents may be allowed to buy homes for their children when it is finalised.

Greenfield concerns

Campaigners have previously accused the government of creating a developers' charter in rural areas ahead of its Growth and Infrastructure Bill being debated in the Commons.

Ministers say the bill is needed to stimulate development but there are fears that it will rush through greenfield schemes for business and housing against the wishes of people living nearby.

The bill will relax rules on developers to deliver social housing, and make it easier to install broadband infrastructure.

The CPRE says the plans will spoil some of the UK's best-loved landscapes and it has warned of a rash of "broadband clutter" in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    I like your wording..you got a house by default.

    I am sorry you lost your parents but you INHERITED A HOUSE if you don't like paying for it then sell it whether its a depressed market or not. You rent the house so basically earn a income from it, you are now a private landlord....if you don't like the bills then sell the house.

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    Ex-poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion said "townies in the countryside" were "gutting" rural communities.

    So tax 2nd homes x200% of council tax

    or x300%
    or x500%

    What a great idea

    ...so it'll never happen

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    This is the most stupid idea I have seen the BBC publish to date. Rural communities have been in terminal decline since the start of the industrial revolution. There is no longer a purpose for rural communities. All the wealth generation (and therefore jobs) are in the cities. The only rural communities that are surviving are dormitory towns or places that are worthwhile as a holiday retreat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    195. tempt44

    It's a complicated topic and sadly the text restrictions are painfully tight.

    I think the intention of the article was aimed at the higher group of earners who work and live in the city during the week, and move to second homes in rural areas at the weekends.

    There are of course a thousand and one scenarios in-between; opinions are only very generalized.

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    The Socialists war on wealth continues. Jealousy is truly disgusting.

    Before anyone asks, I'm poor and unemployed, but I don't begrudge others having a decent lifestyle,

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    The sentiment's great but in practice rich people are rich are can afford whatever the tax is. The real problem is the income divide between London and the rest of country that allows "average" wage earners in the capital to be really quite wealthy outside it.

    IMO the simple solution to all the housing inequality is to levy CGT on all property (and enforce it).

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    It's already taxed, fgs. Income was taxed, then if surplus was saved, that was taxed, then income from letting is taxed. Sell and it is taxed again CGT.

    Yours is the religion and mentality of envy again.

    Agree with 184/185/186/187.

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    I'm technically a second home owner. I inherited the family home when my mother passed away. It's 50 miles from my own mortgage-free home. I already pay council tax, insurance and utility charges etc on it. I'm in no rush to sell...I will do so when it suits me too, because I'm free to choose. Why (theoretically) should I pay additional tax on it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    Sounds too little too late. Tax what? Stamp duty? Council tax? Also sounds avoidable by transferring ownerships to family members. Anyhow why can't people buy another house to use 200miles from where they already live. It's up to the local council to ensure affordable housing for those who live there. The real target here should be the buy to rent set who buy another house purely to rent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    Let's get one fact clearly established first: owning your own home is NOT a 'God-given right'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    The greed for tax knows no bounds. I do not own a second home (or first for that matter) but inceasing the tax won't stop the very wealthy buying second homes, it'll just make the have-nots feel a little better. More importantly, if they increase the tax on second homes will they use the money to reduce it on first homes?.. I'll believe that when I see it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 205.

    Most people with second homes are not rich. They have simply worked hard to buy a holiday home.

    More divide and conquer from the vile tories.

    This will lead to lots of properties being dumped onto the market and driving down the prices of property in rural coastal towns.

    Are London landlords included ? Let me guess, their properties aren't classed as second homes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    193 Cambridge Bob
    What, you mean multiple home owners should put their properties into some kind of corporate arrangement and offset evrey thing and then pay corporation tax on whats left. Good plan. Will save me even more money. I could buy another property

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    @13 corncobuk @127 chelseasi - Well said.

    It is particularly galling that people who were born in an area, and who still try to work in that area (e.g. agricultural workers and fishermen), cannot afford to buy properties where they were born, and have to commute to work.

    @66 theashkinsdiet - don't rent. Use B&Bs, hotels and inns and support the local economy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.

    As house prices have risen dramatically, the locals find themselves unable to buy homes so they get sold on to 'townies' who can afford them. This isn't the fault of the townies, it's the fault of the rise in prices. The days of close-knit villages and towns are doomed no matter action is taken.

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    How about this for an idea. Take all the money off people who have worked hard and done well for themselves, and make them live in poverty as a punishment.
    All the confiscated money could then be shared out among the benefit scroungers and those who refuse to make a contribution

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    Perhaps if the government and the City fatcats made pensions a reasonable investment rather than a source of obscene taxes/income, then we wouldn't need to buy second properties that we can sell to fund our twilight years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    Its all ok taxing the fat-cats on their second properties and buy to lets. Doing this will force them to put up rents to cover their losses squeezing us out of pocket and HOME!
    The fat-cats are greedy and unscrupulous and this Gov will look after them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    I can't believe how much hatred I'm hearing about people who are rich. Tax their homes, raid their bank accounts, tax them til the pips squeak, cut them down to size.

    Where's all this come from? I left the UK (American now) 17 years ago, and I don't remember anything like this hatred. So divisive.

    Brits need to think carefully about where they're going - or being led to. It isn't a nice place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    I suspect most rural jobs are poorly paid. To want to live where u grew up, to work locally, but see houses empty most of the time with owners not contributing to local economy, poss jobs for locals, taking homes from locals, must be awful. I say thin/scrap greenbelts, housebuilding will end recession as it did pre war as well as provide homes for townies, build some council homes in villages too


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