Premium on second holiday homes in North Yorkshire is the right move - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Cllr Tyler Callum Wilson, Aberford, Leeds.

The decision of North Yorkshire County Council to be the first authority in the United Kingdom to enforce a 100 per cent mandatory premium on second holiday homes, which will raise £14m to be distributed to cash-strapped local councils in the North of Yorkshire is a welcome one.

The iconic natural beauty of Yorkshire's Coastline and natural environment draws millions of visitors from across the globe and is a key sector of our region's economy, surely these numbers will continue to grow, especially since the recent popularisation of the ‘staycation’, which perhaps reflects on these cash-strapped times families in Yorkshire live in.

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The revenue brought from welcome visitors to the county should not solely be concentrated in the hands of holiday home companies nor big landlords renting out hundreds of cottages and flats year round. Profiting tens of thousands of pounds.

View of Staithes from the Cleveland Way on the North Yorkshire coast. PIC: Tony JohnsonView of Staithes from the Cleveland Way on the North Yorkshire coast. PIC: Tony Johnson
View of Staithes from the Cleveland Way on the North Yorkshire coast. PIC: Tony Johnson

This occurs while our local councils don't receive their fair share back for the provision of services, clean ups, and cultural exhibitions put on for holidaymakers to enjoy - oftentimes with free entry like several museums in Scarborough to name but one area.

While also undertaking rare animal conservation and environmental protection measures like rewilding and coastal erosion defences, both of which have to be funded from somewhere, so why not by taxing second holiday homes in these areas, likely owned by a rich Southerner?

The Holiday-Homes Premium is a good start and a case study of how local or devolved authorities can meaningfully change the economic equilibrium and enact practical measures to soften the housing crisis destroying costal and rural communities by burdening our young people with decades of mortgage debt in order to become homeowners in areas with good jobs, sadly lacking in much of Yorkshire after the legacy of post-industrialisation.

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It is right that money from Yorkshire's tourism should benefit communities living in those areas and to ensure this happens holiday-home-hoarders must pay their fair share in council tax.

By enacting a disincentive to ever higher prices driven by a rush of property developers and private letting companies buying up housing stock in our beautiful countryside and coast, we can help secure a more stable housing market based on local need, not private greed in this summer to come.