Opinion with South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay: Armed Forces Day, Air BnBs and the cost of living crisis

Armed Forces Day in Ramsgate

As ever, Armed Forces Day of Saturday 25th June was celebrated in proud fashion and was well organised by Ramsgate Town Council and the local Royal British Legion with an appropriate emphasis in this 40th Anniversary year of the Falklands War to commemorate the 255 British servicemen who gave their lives to retake the islands from the Argentine invading force. Lest we forget.

Regional media have been highlighting the Holiday Lets/Airbnb conundrum and the resultant lack of homes available for long-term residential rental in Thanet and East Kent (Deal has similar issues). I took part in a piece for BBC Radio Kent last week. As ever, the go to response by many is for ‘more regulation’. That’s one answer but interventions often cause other problems, not foreseen, which leads to calls for more or different regulations and we end up in a loop of tail chasing. My values are as a libertarian Conservative: we all need to think very carefully before mandating what people can and can’t do with assets that they own. We may not like what they do with them, or indeed the politics of envy can creep in and we’d rather they didn’t have them at all and reach for the high tax lever, but I’m sure you can appreciate the danger of such drift towards statism. It might seem far-fetched to envisage a time when your bank, under instruction from government, might tell you that you cannot move your funds to another institution of your choice because of a deemed ‘good’ or ‘bad’ interpretation of your decision. We are already seeing some of this in play with pension funds being nudged away from fossil fuel investments just at the time, when out of clear and present necessity, we need domestically produced oil and gas to literally keep the lights on.

My preferred strategy would be for a change to the tax system to allow for the sale, at a more reasonable rate of tax, of unoccupied second homes and allow for hundreds if not thousands of properties in Thanet to be released to the market for residential use rather than be bound up because of the tax barriers leading to zero tax being collected. There’d also be a boom in renovation and building works leading to a bounty of Stamp Duty, VAT and profits that HM Treasury would get a decent slice from in any event. We need to consider the tax system as a game of chess, thinking ahead rather than it being seen by HM Treasury as a series of single moves in isolation.

Parliament has the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill before it. There are the usual complainants that to change the protocol breaches international law, and because we signed it has to be complied with in full. These are the same people who are still fighting the Brexit battle and assess anything that comes out of Brussels and intentionally anti-British as good and anything that represents a Brexit dividend that advances and unites our country as bad. I’d recommend a perusal of the Protocol and the Withdrawal Agreement. They are both littered with clauses which allowed for and anticipated changes as its operation became tested against reality. The problem we have faced is that the EU refuses to negotiate. After 300 hours of negotiation across 18 months, a time has to come when in the absence of common-sense co-operation, unilateral action becomes a necessity. That time is now. It is remarkable that Germany is insisting that goods from Russia should be able to travel across EU territory to its anomalous enclave of Kaliningrad without facing restrictions, sanctions or tariffs but insists that the same not be allowed for goods passing from the GB mainland to Northern Ireland.

I’ll end with the cost-of-living crisis. We’re all seeing a rise in our shopping bills, a few pence here and there on most items but it is most keenly felt when we fill up the car. I know the country is saddled with huge national debt accumulated over the Covid period but we have a here and now problem and I find it frustrating when taxes and levies are part of the problem, particularly in domestic and pump energy prices, that these are not cut, even temporarily to relieve the symptoms.

Many foodstuffs are tax free – there is no VAT and many are imported without tariffs if coming from the EU and some other countries with whom we have negotiated a free-trade agreement. Looking at the Canada continuity deal, some 51,600 tonnes of medium grade wheat can be imported tariff free. After that, and we imported 440,000 tonnes in 2020 ,there is a £29.63 per tonne tariff still in place. When the world is short of wheat on the back of the Ukraine war, one has to wonder why? A similar argument can be brought against other foodstuffs. Under the EU Brexit deal we can import any amount of Spanish tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries without tariffs. Why don’t we allow the same for Morocco? Tariffs always look appealing as a protection for UK producers. I know of no bananas grown in the UK so why do we have imports tariffs at all on such produce? Tariffs are corrosive, it is always the consumer that pays. It’s time to be more aggressive on reducing and eliminating tariffs – the consumer always wins.


  1. Thank God he isn’t my MP any more !!!
    At least Gale has the kahunas to stand up to Boris

    • Your lucky Joris, he is the chocolate tea pot MP for South Thanet and we are stuck with him, at least for the time being. Bring Back Johnathan Aitken if we have to a Tory, at least he is honest now he is a vicar!

  2. Bit rich to claim he’s against regulation when the Treasury pockets council house receipts and the majority of council tax and VAT collected by local councils.
    The Tories are fundamentally an anti-democratic set up. Opposed to a border poll in Ireland, desperate to stop a Scottish referendum and generally think the country is best run by old Estonians!

  3. Mention previous wars to stir up nationalism – Tick.
    Tell us any taxes on his second homes is a bad idea – Tick.
    Blame any issues with Brexit on Remain voters and “Brussels” – Tick.
    Play down cost of living as a “few pence here and there” – Tick.

    Nailed it Craig. You are almost a parody of yourself now.

    Pathetic nonsense as always.

    Let’s wave goodbye to this satellite MP the next chance we have Thanet. You surely can see we deserve better than this drivel.

    • I have to say that I found his “ a few pence here and there “ quite offensive and not factually true , but then again as Tory under Doris he wouldn’t know the truth if it was straight in front of him .
      Does he take us ALL for fools that we don’t know that the government take 45% of anything we pay for a petrol forecourt
      So much for the 5p off a litre that as motorists we never ever saw .
      The way things are going the Poundland shop is going to need to rename itself due to the big increases that can’t all be blamed on Brexit and Ukraine .
      I went into my local Sainsbury’s yesterday where I discovered that they’ve hardly any milk
      I asked the cashier “ What’s that all about ? “ he replied that “there’s a national milk shortage everywhere”
      That’s interesting because it’s the first that I’d seen or heard of it and on my return home I googled this up and found no recent news about it , only that Arla a few months ago were in dispute but nothing since then
      I wonder if the problem for Sainsbury’s milk shortage is because they’re paying the dairy farmers a pittance
      Strange that Tory boy doesn’t talk about things like this that affect his constituents day to day lives

      • Just read Rockstar, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fruit and vegetable will be rotting in the ground or on the vine because there is no one available to pick them! Thats another unforeseen consequence of Brexit isn’t it, but not to worry the UK can import them from the EU!

        Oh, yes and the Free Market meant a 90 year old friend was evicted from his bungalow just before last Christmas, where he had rented for years, so the landlord can get into BNB, duurh! He is an ex serviceman too, Craig!! Bring back Alan B’Stard I say, at least you could trust him for a good laugh (Pity Rik Mayal isn’t still with us though)

      • Update …. I’ve just been into the Co op in Birchington and they have plenty of milk , so I don’t know why next doors Sainsburys are saying there’s a national milk shortage
        Why don’t Sainsburys just tell the truth and that they’re not paying the poor dairy farmers enough money to produce what they need .
        I won’t hold my breath for them to do that as it wouldn’t put them in a good light .

  4. The banks were deregulated.
    We had the crash of 2008, from which we still haven’t recovered.
    Yeah, let’s scrap regulation. A really good idea. Not.

  5. As ever Craig is economical with the truth. The TCA does provide clauses that can be invoked if there are real demonstrable problems resulting from the agreement. The DUP refusing to take up their seats is not such a problem – indeed, they would have just looked for some other excuse to avoid having to play second fiddle to Sinn Fein. The fact is that the majority of voters in Northern Ireland voted for parties who support the Protocol.

  6. Much as I would’ve preferred Farage, Craig seems to be doing a splendid job overall (Will Scobie is a very nice person, but he was sadly out of his depth as Labour’s candidate).

    • A good while back Will Scobie went to a local primary school as part of his quest for a life in politics, when his visit was discussed with the kids after he’d gone the common theme was that he was “a very strange man”.

  7. … and, to that noisy but very tiny minority of Thanet Left, with their laughable ‘Citizen Smith’ type protests outside empty buildings, bear in mind Craig’s increasing vote share over the past 3 elections:

    2015: 38.13
    2017: 50.8
    2019: 56.1

    So, he must be doing something right!

  8. Sorry but Craig is as useless as all the others.
    Doesn’t even live in Thanet so like the rest have no idea what is happening in Thanet. Sad day if you think he’s any good

  9. Craig a few pennies here and there heinz baked beans 415g just one item I can’t be bothered to write the rest was 90p now £119 at morrisons just one. No I don’t buy them. And why you will never get my vote. Even buying own brand beans at approx 24p a tin hundreds of people in ramsgate cannot live with the money they get, time you and your family tried to live on what they do go to the food banks and see for yourself and live on there money for a week better still a month please try it.

  10. I’ve read Mr Mackinlay’s explanation of how to fix the problem of long term tenants being booted out of their homes so landlords can re let as Air B&B.

    I didn’t understand a word of it.

    Please would someone explain in simple terms, how Mr M’s suggested tax break solution will mean that the family who have been good tenants for 20 years will still be in their home in 20 years’ time?

    I don’t think people voted for Craig. They voted Tory. I have no idea why ordinary people vote Tory.

    • The taxation rules have been changed to try and discourage the private rented sector from getting any larger, a side effect of this was that it meant that short term holiday lets became a better option financially. The situation is liely to get worse with the proposed changes to energy efficiency standards and the loss of section 21. Much easier to get an overstaying holiday maker out of your home than a non paying long term tenant.

      Mr. McKinley is vaguely suggesting that maybe landlords could be incentivised to offer longterm residential use of their properties via the tax system. The simplest way to do this would be via the capital gains tax system, which could revert back to the old sliding scale system, so say after the property has been avaialble to let for a given number of years the tax payable is reduced. Under the old system once a property had been held for 10 years the cgt reduced to 11% ( iirc) . However this would be politically unpopular so unlikely to happen.
      More likely legislation will be introduced that means that holiday lets will need planning permission and be subject to licensing by local authorities, who could then theoretically seek to balance out an areas needs for residential letting and the tourist trades.

  11. I was going to make a longer post explaining why I think that homes, potential homes, shouldn’t be purely described as assets. But perhaps it will suffice to say that Craig Mackinlay has his head up his own ‘asset’.

    • He told me he bought a house in Ramsgate as an investment, but doesn’t live in it, perhaps he is into airBNB too!

  12. Airbnb/ holiday lets /holiday homes & the influx of DFL’s have already killed Broadstairs + anyone with spare cash wont wanna leave it in the bank they will look and research the property market & it’s growth patterns & Broadstairs looks the best investment in the SE – There is absolutely nothing you can do about it Craig apart from talk about it – The damage is done & there is no fix 🙁

  13. As Peter C seems so entranced with elections, let us take a look. Yes, 64% of Thanet voted for Brexit, and in order to see it through they voted for Craig, the libertarian tory in considerable numbers, in successive elections.
    Now they have Brexit, they are now finding that cost of living is increasing, as are taxes.Sleaze is also on the rise, as is chance of a good old fashioned currency crisis.Perhaps Craig will be saying that the pound in your pocket is not devalued, but of course it is, as many of the goods we need are priced in dollars, like oil for instance.
    Craig won’t be able to blame a labour govt, because they have not in office for 12 years, though he will try.
    Of course Checksfield condones lying, cheating, misrepresentation etc if it comes from the mouth of the PM, so expect more excuses from that quarter.Perhaps Checksfield is ‘that strange man’, for condoning all this knavery and roguery.
    There is nothing immoral or unpleasant in voting conservative, but doing so when, almost every day, fresh examples of immorality are being unearthed is lacking something in the morality stakes.
    What you have to ask yourself, why is it that Craig is not carrying a cabinet ministers baton in his pocket, when the likes of Nadine Dorries, Priti Patel and Jacob Rees-Mogg are in office? How bad can he be, if cannot even reach their lowly standard of competence.

      • I think your last comment shows just how out of date you are. It matters not what Ms Dorries looks like,just what is going on between her ears.
        As I write 23 ministers etc have resigned so Craig might still have a chance to become under secretary for Dustbins or over 90’s education.
        It is truly a ministry of none of the talents.Perhaps you might be made Tsar for geriatric pop stars, who knows? Opportunity knocks!

        • I don’t know why the local Left (i.e. you) aren’t praising Sir Roger Gale more. After all, he – unlike Craig! – has been very outspoken against Boris for a long time… or are you so embittered that you can’t ever praise a Tory?

  14. What a difference a day in politics is yesterday categorically Boris didn’t know anything about a complaint about pincher now he admits he did, on top of that 2of his cabinet resign Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid as they find they cannot work in the government as it is, what more lies will we coming from Boris’s mouth, Prime Minister for how much longer.

  15. Whoever it is has to be honest with everyone and trustworthy and if she/he comes from the government ministers who is worthy defiantly not Dorries or Patel. If he stays in command we might even see Craig Mackinlay perish the thought. Sunak and Javid are after being the next PM!!. He said he maid a mistake on his latest mistake how many is going to make before everyone realise he is a liar 5 days ago he knew nothing Pincher and complaints about him, yesterday he categorically didn’t know anything today he admits he maid a mistake why because he knew all along.

    • I’d love to see Priti Patel as PM, even if it was just for a few days. Imagine that, the Tories with an ethnic minority female PM – when Labour have never even found a woman to lead their party!

  16. Thanks, I don’t see either happening Patel pm or Labour leader, although there deputy leader and shadow chancellor speak well when they do pm question time, but never have I voted Labour. And only once tory Council in Bexley. But never will I say never as depends on trust and policy.

    • Peter. Angela Rayner should be alright there if memory serves me right she was a unison conveyor for the North West so as to getting the unions on side she must be the likeliest one.

Comments are closed.