Over the past year, the number one issue brought to my attention by people in Wadebridge has been the loss of our post office. After meeting with the Chief Executive of the Post Office at the Conservative Conference, I am delighted that a temporary solution for Wadebridge has been found. Wadebridge is far too big to be without a post office and I am delighted that things are in motion to get a short term and a long term solution. My thanks goes out to Jason Bickersteth (the Postmaster at Marshgate Post Office) who came forward to offer his support and work with me to get the service back. A temporary post office will now be available during select hours at Unit 3 of Hamilton House for the next six months.
Over the Autumn the issue of second homes will be an item that is at the top of my agenda. Let me assure you that second homes are liable for council tax. The requirement for local authorities to offer a discount on second homes was removed by the Government in 2013, enabling them to charge the full rate of council tax. This is the case irrespective of whether they are occupied or not. On top of this, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will introduce a new discretionary council tax premium of up to 100 per cent on second homes. I recognise that holiday lets contribute to the economy, create jobs, increase tourism and are generally a good use of housing. Nonetheless, the Government is alive to concerns about the impact that large numbers of holiday lets concentrated in areas like North Cornwall have on the community. As such, the Government is bringing forward new powers for a tourist accommodation registration scheme and has consulted on introducing a requirement for planning permission for an existing home to start to be used as a short-term let, giving local people greater control over short-term lets in tourist hotspots. In addition, the Government has already closed a tax loophole and strengthened the self-catering accommodation criteria to ensure owners of second homes cannot unfairly access small business rates relief simply by declaring an intention to let their home.
I am confident that together these steps will help to create a fairer system, ensuring that second homeowners are contributing their share to the local services they benefit from.
Since my election in 2015 my office has actioned over 60,000 cases on behalf of North Cornwall residents. If you require my help with anything, including benefits, the NHS or raising a concern with the Government then please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org or 01208 74337. I hold regular advice surgeries, if you would like to meet with me then please get in touch. Further information about the work I do on behalf of the community can be found at www.scottmann.org.uk and on social media www.facebook.com/therightmannforNorthCornwall.