Hundreds of people expected to attend protest against housing crisis in Cornwall

A protest will take place in Cornwall to highlight the county’s housing crisis and demand that the Duchy’s six MPs call on Parliament to take action.

Hundreds of people are expected to show up for the protest on Lemon Quay in Truro from noon on Saturday, August 21, which demands “more second homes. No more sky-high rents. No more vacation rentals on them. council houses. Enough is enough “.

The day of action was hosted by Bella Smith, 21, from Newquay, who told CornwallLive: “I decided to run the demo primarily for two reasons – one, as a space for the Cornish people to come together and be able to share their stories and experiences within this housing / rental crisis. Cornish people, from young people in retail to new families and almost elderly locals have been completely cut off from the opportunity to access affordable housing. “

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“It reminds us in our community that you are not alone if you are struggling with this crisis and it will allow many to see just how serious and penetrating our housing crisis has become.

“The second main reason is to stress to our six Cornwall MPs, Cornwall Council and our government in Westminster that we need urgent, substantial material action now. No more small bandages on a gaping wound. The measures introduced by the council are far from sufficient, they do nothing to address the roots of the real problem. “

The demo was announced on Facebook and reiterates some of the factors that led to more calls to action.

It is said:

  • In 2020, the median annual salary in Cornwall was £ 27,223, while the median house price was £ 236,000, meaning people need more than nine times their salary to buy a house. And even then that median includes the best earners in Cornwall – most of us don’t even make the median wage, many are in insecure jobs of around £ 18,000-20,000 making the target to be able to rent or buy a house almost impossible.
  • Cornwall has replaced London as the number one place people look for on Rightmove – and around a fifth of Cornish new residents are from London, pushing rental and mortgage prices up further. 44% of Cornwall homebuyers in 2021 were from outside Cornwall.
  • As of June 2021, Cornwall had over 10,290 active AirBnB listings across the county, while there were only 69 rental properties available on Rightmove. As of July 31, 2021, that number has dropped to 41.
  • For example, in Newquay as of July 31, 2021, there are 4 properties available for rent on Rightmove. The cheapest of these is £ 925 pcm and the highest £ 1,200 pcm.
  • There are over 16,000 people looking for social housing in Cornwall, and the average wait time to find housing is nine months. This comes after it was previously revealed that dozens and dozens of former social housing units were illegally rented as student and AirBnB accommodation, which keeps these properties at extremely high rent and inaccessible to those in need. .

A “Land for Sale” sign in Fowey is covered with posters highlighting the housing crisis for locals

Bella said: “We cannot live like this anymore, and we will not accept the increasing homelessness of people in Cornwall and the ever rising house prices becoming an accepted part of life. We demand action, we demand change, we demand dignity.

“We’re not just bartenders, ice cream servers and lifeguards, we’re people who deserve to be able to rent and buy where we live.

“We deserve affordable housing and rental properties. Cornwall is not a playground, it’s not just a tourist hotspot and a great place to live by the beach if you have it. money for it – it’s our home, it’s our culture, our family, friends, livelihood – and we can’t even afford to live here.

“We need the government to really tackle and commit to ending Cornwall’s extremely high poverty rates and housing crisis – we need action on a lot of things including second home ownership, illegal rental of old public housing as Airbnbs, a limit on vacation rentals, and many more, much more. “

The demonstrators will demand:

  • That George Eustice, Scott Mann, Sheryll Murray, Steve Double, Derek Thomas and Cherilyn Mackrory pledge to send a joint public letter to Parliament, demanding immediate and material action to end the housing crisis.
  • That the six Cornwall MPs commit to participating in a community led housing crisis action plan group.
  • That Cornwall Council Chief Linda Taylor and the newly formed Conservative-led council accept demands for a housing crisis petition, which was signed by 44,581 people as of July 31 to:
  • Collect a higher and stricter tax on second homes that recognizes the threat they pose to local communities.
  • Close the loophole that allows them to be classified as “businesses,” allowing them to tap into locally allocated funds and in some cases avoid paying housing tax altogether.
  • Work quickly on firm strategies to cap local rents based on local income so local families don’t end up homeless.
  • Use the funds accumulated by properly taxing second homes in building FIRST and ONLY affordable homes for local families.

Bella added: “I may have posted this event on Facebook, but the protest is not led by anyone but the Cornish people who time and again see their livelihoods put into the service of profit interests for a small number. I just facilitated a time and date and a few initial ideas and requests that I think we can all agree on – but this protest will be led by people from Cornwall who will share their stories and demand action . “

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