Councillor demands power to hike council tax on second homes to 150%
Katy Jenkins, local democracy reporter
A Tenby councillor has urged the local authority to ask the Welsh Government to allow it to hike council tax on second homes even higher.
Cllr Michael Williams called for council tax on second homes to be increased again during budget discussions at corporate services overview and scrutiny on January 20.
He told the Pembrokeshire County Council meeting that he understood the 100% second home premium approved for 2022/23 is the “statutory maximum” so he called for “urgent representations” to change that.
Cllr Williams suggests that a further 50% could be levied – and money raised spent on services.
Other councillors questioned the effectiveness of this in reducing second homes, that could be switched to business rates.
Cllr Williams said that 75 per cent of houses on his street in Tenby were second homes and four families had recently been in touch after being “given notice to quit” because their long term rentals were being changed to Air B&Bs.
“We have a chronic housing problem here that’s being exacerbated by the sheer number of second homes. They contribute nothing, absolutely nothing to the local economy.”
He added that if someone can pay £450,000 for a terraced house they “use occasionally” they should pay more.
Cllr Mike Stoddart said he feared it would encourage more to switch to non-domestic rates and neither reduce second homes nor raise significant sums of money.
Waiting to see the impact of the 100 per cent premium before going further would be more advisable Cllrs Mike John and Mark Carter said, while also acknowledging that something need to be done.
The committee were advised that a request that the option for all local authorities to increase premiums could be included in a consultation response to Welsh Government by cabinet and it was agreed that senior councillors be asked to consider this.
The consultation is relating to planning amendments which include potentially introducing the ability to require the need for planning permission for change of use of a main dwelling to holiday use.
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