Minister tells parliament today that it wants to see local authorities use existing powers to protect holiday makers, while talks are ongoing with the industry player to frame voluntary regulation.
Debate at the highest in government has once again spilled out into Parliament. Answering a question from a Labour peer today in the Lords, Conservative minister Patrick Stopford, the 9th Earl of Courtown, said: “We don’t have any plans currently to regulate the short-lets market.
“Protection of the residents and tourists are paramount, so this is why we are working with the Short-Term Accommodation Association (STAA) to raise standards.
“The sharing economy does create wealth and we want to encourage not curtail it.”
The minister, who represents the government in the Lords, said the STAA and Airbnb were supporters of organising a round-table with the sector to hammer out an agreement, although he wouldn’t say if they endorsed Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s call for Airbnb landlord registration in the capital.
Graham Tope, Baron Tope, said the government had failed to grasp the metal of the problem and that its poor funding of councils meant many local authorities lack the resources to police short-let bookings via platforms such as Airbnb.
That, he said, was why the phenomenon is spreading so rapidly and, campaigners claim, becoming a significant problem in some areas.
Today’s debate in parliament followed comments by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, who earlier today called for England to follow Scotland’s example, and give local authorities much stronger powers to regulate Airbnb.