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Tory MP blames Airbnb lets for shortage of staff accommodation

A Conservative MP in a tourist region has blamed the switch of rental accommodation to Airbnbs for a shortage of places for tourism employees to live.

Exmoor and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has told the West Somerset Free Press that the conversion of homes into holiday lets had provided a short-term boost for the tourist trade, but had a downside.

“Thousands of seasonal businesses across the South West relied on those properties to provide staff accommodation in summer - and suddenly that availability was closed off. We then had the ludicrous position of staff working in Cornish businesses having to commute up to 30 miles a day from Devon, where some accommodation was still available, and of restaurants right across the region only serving food at midday or in the evening because they simply did not have the staff to do both.


“On the wider front, holiday accommodation units were being created in hundreds of smaller houses, so removing them from the property market and depriving local couples of the chance to acquire them as their first homes.

“It is a highly complex situation and although it is one largely limited to the prime tourism areas the impacts are severe and I am glad the government has recognised that and is going to act.”

In October last year it was revealed in a Commons debate that Treasury officials were looking into tax and other fiscal measures to cool the market for second homes and properties for short-lets in popular holiday hotspots across the UK.

During that debate Richard Fuller, then the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said the government wantred to do something to stop holiday hotspots in effect becoming inaccessible and unaffordable for locals.

In June last year - some 10 months ago now - the government formally launched a review into the effect of short-term holiday lets in a bid to improve the holiday letting market for those living in popular tourism destinations.

A scheme, proposed in the review, could involve physical checks of premises to ensure regulations in areas including health and safety, noise and anti-social behaviour are obeyed.

Further measures the government was said to be considering at that time included a registration ‘kitemark’ scheme with spot checks for compliance with rules on issues such as gas safety, a self-certification scheme for hosts to register with before they can operate, and better information or a single source of guidance setting out the legal requirements for providers.

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    Yet it was a Conservative Government that pushed investors into holiday lets.

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    A good start would be to make sure hotels could be used as hotels not hostels. Then maybe the air banb folks would have an alternative.

    Roger  Mellie

    Adrian, this is a good point well made. It is certainly a contributing factor.

  • Billy the Fish

    Significant irony here. The only real positive is hearing a conservative MP bleat about his own party’s policy affecting him.

  • Roger  Mellie

    Coming to a wild and unsubstantiated conclusion, I'm going to blame the planning department. In my experience, these council quangos do as much as they can to stifle progress at every turn.

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    The elephant in the room is immigration!! Further we seem to have no choice of voting because they are all communists!

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    Who has been in charge for 13 years ? Not that Labour would be zny better. The political class sadly is as rotten as the Met Police.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Taxation and regulation have pushed many landlords into the 2nd home/holiday let market. Why are politicians remotely surprised by this? The Times ran an article a month or two back which estimated that 30 properties a DAY are leaving the PRS for this market segment. It was foreseen, they were warned, they continue to be warned and they continue to act as they see fit.

  • jeremy clarke

    Do MP's share a brain cell or do they have their own?
    Incredible that a so called conservative MP has made a statement about something being bad that his party have caused to happen in the first place!!
    Take a look in the mirror Mr Liddall- Grainger, therein lies the problem!


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