Council defers proposals to increase second home council tax premium
Katy Jenkins, local democracy reporter
Putting up council tax for second home owners is “not a silver bullet” to solve the housing problems in Pembrokeshire.
Cost of housing has increased, particularly in coastal areas, as has demand both from second home owners and those looking to relocate, a report to councillors said.
A Notice of Motion put forward by Labour councillors to increase the second home council tax premium to 100 per cent this financial year was not adopted by members of the policy and pre-decision overview and scrutiny committee this week.
As previously reported, the council has said it is not possible to make a council tax variation this financial year.
However, the committee heard from cabinet member for finance Cllr Bob Kilmister that plans for a public consultation on increasing the premium next year were in place, with a likely launch next month.
There are currently 3,641 homes subject to the second homes council tax premium of 50 per cent – which is to be spent on housing and the Enhancing Pembrokeshire grants scheme – and raising it to 100 per cent would generate an additional £2.3million, a report to committee states.
There are also many more holiday lets in coastal areas which are not subject to the premium and are classed as businesses.
Cllr Tony Baron said he agreed that the “second home problem is acute in Pembrokeshire and one of the few things we can do is to vary council tax.”
It was a widespread problem across Wales and other areas of the UK he added, and there was a need to look at planning laws and increasing building as well.
Cllr Kilmister said that it was difficult to provide large areas of land to build on in coastal areas but houses were to be built at Brynhir, Tenby and in Solva, adding increasing premiums “isn’t a silver bullet that will solve this problem.”
He added it was a complex issue which also had unintended consequences for some home owners, as did the long term empty property premium.