The government has launched a review into the effect of the recent increase in short-term holiday lets, following pressure from two of Cornwall's MPs.

Derek Thomas, MP for West Cornwall, and Cherilyn Mackrory, MP for Truro and Falmouth, met with the Tourism Minister on Tuesday to discuss the adverse impact of holiday lets on Cornwall.

The market for short-term holiday lets has boomed in recent years, especially since the launch of Airbnb in the UK since 2009.

The number of active listings on Airbnb tripled between April 2016 and May 2019, from 76,000 to over 225,000. As of January 2020, there were 257,000 listings – a further increase of 14%.

These holiday lets are often concentrated in tourist hotspots – such as St Ives and Mousehole in Mr Thomas’s constituency – and have put additional pressure on the housing market in these areas, by reducing the supply of houses available for long-term rent or purchase, and raising prices.

Mr Thomas described the effect on the communities as "profound", pointing out that the fewer permanent residents there are, the less viable local services such as schools, pubs, GP practices, post offices and bus routes become.

Residents in towns with high numbers of holiday lets have raised concerns with him about anti-social behaviour including noise, waste and drunken behaviour.

As a result, the government has today issued an open call for evidence on the impact of the short-term lets, particularly in tourist hotspots, saying it would use the data to inform any future steps.

It wants to hear the views of all parties, including hosts, online platforms, accommodation businesses and local authorities.

Cornwall MPs Cherilyn Mackrory and Derek Thomas meet with Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston (left)

Cornwall MPs Cherilyn Mackrory and Derek Thomas meet with Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston (left)

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "We want to reap the benefits of the boom in short-term holiday lets while protecting community interests.

“While no decisions have been taken, this review will help us work out the options to look at so we can protect our much-loved communities and thriving holiday industry.”

His colleague, Housing Minister Stuart Andrew, added: “We need to make sure holiday lets don’t drive residents out of their communities.

“We are already taking action to tackle the issue of second and empty homes in some areas by empowering councils to charge up to double the rate of council tax.

“This review will give us a better understanding of how short term lets are affecting housing supply locally to make sure the tourism sector works for both residents and visitors alike.”

The review will last for 12 weeks, and people can respond by emailing or online via


Mr Thomas has been raised the problems of holiday lets since he was elected, securing a debate in 2018 on the difficulties second homes and holiday lets placed on families needing affordable homes, and asking the government to intervene in 2021, saying: “In the past couple of years, because of the need for staycation and inability, and sometimes reluctance, to fly abroad for holidays, we have seen people flooding into tourist attraction areas and driving up a holiday let market that has seen large numbers of families evicted from their homes – which they have sometimes rented for many years – and these homes transferred a holiday lets."

In light of the review, he has said now: "I would urge everyone affected by the increase in holiday lets to make their voice heard in this survey.

“There is nothing wrong with the principle of Airbnb – I’ve spoken to a number of people in the constituency who earn extra money letting out spare rooms – but the holiday let market has grown out of control.

“The government has already committed to introducing a National Landlord Register, in the Levelling Up White Paper, and we need to make sure that the Minister for Tourism works with the Department for Levelling Up to develop a scheme that works for everyone in our communities.”