01 October 1999
House locals — ban second homes, says Meacher

A PROPOSED ban on wealthy people owning second homes in some parts of the countryside raises debate on wider issues in this mornings newspapers.

Environment Minister Michael Meacher yesterday told a meeting at the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth that the “privileged” should not be able to price locals out of the market.

He said a ban was being considered for a forthcoming White Paper for the countryside, although senior Labour sources said there were no such plans.

The front page headline of The Express brands Mr Meacher a “hypocrite” as he owns a £400,000 second home in the Cotswolds.

It describes the controversial idea as “a further blow” to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescotts “environment empire”.

The Daily Telegraph adds that Mr Meachers comments “are bound to provoke controversy, particularly as they came only 48 hours after Tony Blair declared the ‘class war is over’.”

The Daily Mail describes Mr Meachers remarks as “a blunder” which would “open the Government to charges of class envy”.

The Guardian speculates that the Governments swift move to distance itself from Mr Meachers comments is ominous for the minister.

“The rebuke will raise doubts about the future of Mr Meacher, one of the few members of Labours shadow cabinet denied a cabinet place after the election.

“His supporters believe that the Prime Minister hoped to curb Mr Meachers influence by sending him to environment.”

It adds that the public disagreement “will raise questions about the Prime Ministers grip on countryside policy”.

This comes after signs that the Government is wavering on its commitment to ban foxhunting before the next general election.

  • The Express P1
  • The Daily Mail P2
  • The Daily Telegraph P1
  • The Guardian P1
  • The Times P15