I am proud to represent East Devon. Without question, our area is a desirable place to live! 

Many people visit and immediately fall in love with the place. They may choose to come back year after year to stay in our fantastic bed and breakfasts, seaside hotels, and town centre short-term lets. Others visit and choose to lay down their roots here, not least for retirement.

The local tourism industry provides visitors with great experiences and boosts our economy. But I believe a surge in holiday homes and second homes are pricing local people out of the market. Although I fully respect someone’s right to purchase a second home, including those used for short-term holiday lets, it is having a seismic impact on our local housing stock.

Since I was elected in 2019, I’ve spoken several times in Parliament about the need to get the balance right. That is, how to help local people to rent or buy a home while also supporting tourism.

The government recognises this problem and is taking action. Tax loopholes for short-term holiday lets have been closed and council tax will be doubled on second homes and vacant homes, after a campaign by Conservative MPs in the South West.

A forthcoming registration scheme for short-term lets will help local councils to monitor compliance with key health and safety regulations and provide much-needed data on activity area by area.

In Parliament last week, I called for new powers to ensure new builds go to local people first.

Councils that can demonstrate a high number of holiday lets and second homes in their area should be able to reserve a percentage of new builds for people with a local, family, or economic connection to that area from within 25 miles of the new build. I firmly believe this is an idea the government should seriously consider.

We need people to work in vital local jobs such as in social care and hospitality, and sometimes they are having to travel miles to get to work due to house and rent prices. We need to strike a fairer balance.