DORSET and the south have just had the busiest half term for years. As we still have Covid restrictions the number of visitors will remain high so it’s time we looked at the financial implications.

Many of us were aware many second homes were inhabited during lockdown – some homes used as commuter bases while others allowed friends to stay and even some holiday homes taking bookings regardless of the restrictions.

While they were able to take advantage of tax and rate relief, locals had no such help, to the contrary they were subsidising them.

The logical step is to abolish the second home rebates and business tax breaks, a system open to abuse, just full council rates. The south has seen an influx of second home buyers pushing up prices so new owners have a places in the country, full rates won’t stop this but the cash could go towards local homes for local people.

In normal years it’s cheaper to go to France by ferry and rent a villa than rent a similar property in the south. All those currently using the south as an alternative to EU holidays would have, had they gone, paid visitor tax with no quibbles - so why should not the same apply in the UK?.

A visitor tax could go towards the extra services the south provides in the summer months, hospitals overwhelmed, police, cleaning services.

While the government is unable or unwilling to recognise the west is different because of its desirability as a holiday destination and fund accordingly then surely Dorset, and by implication the rest of the south west, should be able to raise the shortfall by other means, a visitor tax.


Lake Lane