There have been calls for second-home owners in Devon’s holiday hotspots to pay business rates to ensure they are contributing to the local communities. However, is this a step too far in the ongoing Business Rates row?
Locals are calling for the new legislation as they are being priced out of their own property markets due to the current boom. Salcombe is one of the areas that have been hit the hardest. It has been reported that up to 65% of the properties in the area are classed as second homes. The average house price is over £750,000 whereas the salaries in the area are much lower than the national average. As a result, locals are priced out..
South Hams District Council are trying to diffuse the situation by claiming to ensure that all new developments are only going to be used as primary residence, however many business owners argue that it would not stop the growing issue. Shop owners are struggling to find staff for their busy stores due to the lack of low-cost homes in the local vicinity.
This issue is not unique to Salcombe, it is also being seen within Cornwall. Research has shown that the average house price in the area is now eight times more than the average salary. Members of Cornwall Council are stating that they are facing a housing crisis. With staycations being all the rage at the moment, it is thought the issue will only worsen.
However, would charging second-home owners business rates help fix the issue or deepen the disillusionment? Many industry experts argue that the current Business Rates system is broken and in desperate need of a complete overhaul. Many companies that are being charged rates are struggling to keep their doors open, surely home owners would face the same collapse? The playing field does need to be levelled for locals and tourists, however charging business rates would not do this. It is up to the council’s to step in to ensure locals have a fair chance in the housing market.
Are you a business owner that is struggling paying your business rates? Contact FCS today to see how we can help with the business rates burden.