While seeking restitution for the increasing number of homeless people in Cornwall, the city council was shocked to find out the number of empty homes in the southernmost city of England.
In a survey conducted by University College London (UCL), it was found out that there are almost 20,000 empty properties in Cornwall with an estimated real estate value of £6 billion. A property which has been empty for more than six months is considered to be an unoccupied one.
Chris Bailey, campaign manager from charity Action on Empty Homes, even went on to highlight this as England’s empty housing scandal.
What are the problems?
There are two major problems that arise from this situation:
- Less number of empty homes means elevated real estate prices. This leads to an increased number of homeless people because of their inability to buy steeply priced homes. As homelessness now becomes a problem that is clearly visible across England, people are taking refuge in crowded temporary accommodations leading to scores of problems for the city council.
- Empty properties receive a council tax discount resulting in a loss of revenue to the city council. According to estimates, even a one percent increase in the empty home’s tax would lead to additional revenue of £58.8 million.
What can be done?
With people buying property for pure investment purposes, some steps can be taken to bring about some equality for all and a solution for all the homeless people in Cornwall.
The local government needs to create some kind of balance between the incomes generated by tourism and the negative effect on housing prices, driven by a need to desire and not to reside within the homes.
It is high time the city council and national government took some kind of action to tackle the national housing crisis in Cornwall.