Bishop Fleming steps up holiday let campaign

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Tourism specialists at south west accountancy firm, Bishop Fleming, have stepped up their campaign against a Government threat to abolish vital tax help for owners of furnished holiday let (FHL) properties.

The tax-threat would affect 62,000 properties in the region, providing accommodation for four million visitors, who contribute some £1.34 billion each year to the south west’s economy.

The firm’s chief executive, Brian Payne, has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, and the south west’s new regional Minister, Jim Knight, calling for a re-think of plans to scrap long-established tax benefits for FHL property owners.

Copies of the letters can be viewed on a newly opened section of Bishop Fleming’s website dedicated to the campaign.

The new web campaign section also includes details of the current tax benefits, the rules on who qualifies, and the Chancellor’s plan for abolition. There is also an explanation of how this could damage the South West’s tourism industry.

According to Payne: “This issue does not just affect second-home owners, it would have huge impact on this region’s 18,600 self-catering units and 24,280 static caravans.

He warned: “The tax benefits have enabled the owners of these FHL properties to invest in improvements and to smooth out the huge profit and loss swings from good-weather seasons to the kind of wet-weather summers we have experienced for the last two years. If the Chancellor abolishes the tax benefits, those owners will have to consider the viability of their businesses – which could see a disastrous reduction in accommodation available for visitors to this region.”

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