Cornwall has some of the most expensive properties in the UK. Houses worth millions are bulldozed to be replaced by houses costing even more. Houses are being built throughout the county which are “affordable” only by wealthy second home buyers.
The profits from these developments are going to a small coterie of landowners such as the Duchy of Cornwall, the Tregothnan Estate, the Enys estate, along with a favoured few developers and builders.
- A Labour Cornwall will campaign to put an end to speculative building projects for second homes. A Labour council will impose a planning condition on all new developments that they are sold only to those who satisfy a residential or key worker qualification.
- We will also ensure that existing second homes are taxed so that the owners make a real contribution to the local services they use, and welcome Labour’s commitment to the introduction of a double-council-tax levy on second homes.
- Labour recognises that many holiday-lets could also be made available to help alleviate the chronic housing shortage, and will explore ways of using planning and taxation laws to encourage such socially-useful purposes.
- We will end the use of a notional 80% of market value as the Cornwall definition of “affordable” housing, replacing it with a multiple of average wages in Cornwall.
- Labour would suspend Cornwall Council’s plan to build 1,000 homes, pending reform of its purpose, to ensure that it meets need, not greed.
- Cornwall Labour Party notes that local government in Scotland abolished the Right To Buy in 2016. This legislation, introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1980, has contributed to the destruction of local communities throughout Cornwall, particularly in rural areas where genuinely affordable social housing is essential.
- Cornwall Labour Party will campaign to scrap Right To Buy legislation in England, so that all new social housing in Cornwall will be subject to a residency qualification and not available for resale.
- Labour would only permit new housing on brownfield sites.
- It would reintroduce the “zero carbon homes” building regulations.
- Labour would introduce a Land Benefit Tax so that only the council benefits from changes in planning zones
- Labour would introduce a Land Tax to replace Council Tax (2017 Manifesto)
- The Cornwall Investment Bank would fund a programme of home insulation aiming at ensuring all homes are carbon neutral by 2025 where technically possible. Cornwall CC should apply to national government for additional assistance to develop insulation programmes for traditional buildings
- All procurement exercises should have a positive weighting for local supply and additional weighting for local cooperative or mutual tenders.
- Tenders from the private sector should only be permitted where the contractors and all sub contractors meet licence requirements which would include payment of at least the national minimum wage, the right to organise in trade unions and proper contracts.
- There should be a full Carbon audit of all Council activities followed by an action program for alleviation.
Research and Development
Developing a green economy will involve the most massive shift of resources since the Second World War. Huge opportunities exist not least in research and development. Labour will seek to re-purpose Cornwall’s higher and further education institutions so as to better support the training and research needed to deliver a Green economy in Cornwall. Particular areas for investment and research include green construction (use of hemp), smart energy networking and methane reduction in agriculture.