Sir – In the current furore (supported mainly, I suspect, by construction companies), the role of second homes is hugely underestimated. There were over 245,000 of them in the UK in 2009.

More now, I suspect. They drain local communities and do little to compensate.

If they are not let substantially for holiday purposes, then all should be liable to a vastly increased council tax.

This would either release more property to local buyers (at a lower price, due to lower demand) or provide finance for local authorities to subsidise village schools, shops, buses etc which currently wither in areas such as Cornwall, Dorset or Little Wittenham.

Michael Dean