Holiday Homes could be taxed to help curb homelessness

Will a holiday homes tax benefit or damage Thanet?

A proposed policy which increases the council tax on second homes used as holiday homes will bring benefits to those in Thanet currently without a home.

The Labour Party has rightly employed some radical thinking to tackle our housing crisis head on. £560m could be raised based on the number of second homes in England. This sum would primarily target a reduction in the number of families with children living in temporary accommodation. 120,000 children are currently in this situation.

This morning I was invited to discuss the proposed Holiday Homes levy on BBC Radio Kent’s Breakfast Show.

In Thanet I have witnessed families torn apart when the local authority provides emergency accommodation miles from school or work. Children are then placed with friends or relatives so they can continue at the school they know. The stress is phenomenal.

We need homes for families.

Labour is also looking to reduce the number of rough sleepers. Thanet’s shop doorways have seen an increasing number of homeless people in recent months. It’s a shameful situation and one that cannot be resolved unless homes are built and made available to those who need them in ways that they can afford.

The levy is proposed on second homes used as holiday homes. There is a likely impact on the incomes of businesses in our corner of Kent. As an elected representative for a coastal community I want to ensure the best for everyone and will be taking soundings on the likely impact such measures will have on Thanet’s local economy which relies on tourism. We have to strike a balance but we cannot ignore the plight of those who need homes. 

I am at the annual Labour Party Conference this week and much of my time has been spent debating possible solutions to issues faced by society. There are many ideas, radical and otherwise. The overwhelming drive is for a fairer society. Housing is currently unfair. The divide in the home ownership statistics of the rich and the poor is increasing. This inequality must be resolved and from where I’m standing, it’s a Labour Government that will deliver the number of new homes we need.