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Councillors set out opposition to further second home council tax hikes in Gwynedd

22 Nov 2022 4 minute read
Protest against second homes in Nefyn. Photo LDRS

Siân Williams

Councillors representing the two Gwynedd wards with the highest percentage of second homes don’t want any further increase in Council Tax Premium.

In a meeting of Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet this afternoon, Councillor Ioan Thomas, who has responsibility for Finance, will recommend a further increase of 50% for second homes from April 2023. It is also proposed that the Premium should be kept at the current rate of 100% for long-term vacant houses.

Gwynedd has the highest number of second homes in Wales. Currently, second home owners pay a Council Tax Premium of 100%. If the full council takes on the Cabinet recommendation at its meeting in December, second home owners will pay a Premium of 150% from next April.

Independent Councillor John Brynmor Hughes represents the Abersoch gyda Llanegan ward on Cyngor Gwynedd. This is the ward with the highest percentage of second homes in Gwynedd and Wales. He told Nation.Cymru: “I don’t think there should be any premium at all – it’s killing business. But there should be something in place. My preferred option is that every house pays council tax and if it’s a second home it goes up to the next (more expensive) band of council tax. If it’s an Airbnb then it should go straight to the top band.”

Golden goose

Coun. Hughes says that one restaurant has already shut down in Abersoch because of the cost-of-living crisis. He says local businesses, “depend on tourism year-round. I’m Welsh to the core, but we are killing the golden goose here. Tourism is all we have – yes, we have farming, but many farmers are dependent on tourism as well. Farmers have been encouraged (to diversify) and many have had planning permission to convert outbuildings to holiday lets. They’re very worried about this.”

In last year’s local elections Plaid Cymru increased its majority in Gwynedd. Coun. Hughes has no doubt that when the matter comes to a meeting of the full council in December, the Cabinet recommendation will pass. “Plaid Cymru will have the whip out – it doesn’t matter what individual Plaid councillors think. You’ve heard the Sandy Shaw song – like a Puppet on a String.”

Another Independent, Councillor Gareth Williams, represents the Pen draw Llŷn ward. This ward includes the village of Aberdaron which has the second highest number of holiday homes in Gwynedd. He doesn’t see the need for any further increase in council tax premium. But he’s also relieved that the Cabinet is not going for the full 300% premium that is allowed by Welsh Government.

Kicking

Coun. Williams told Nation.Cymru: “I’m perfectly happy the way things are to be honest with you. I’ve been very worried about the impact this will have on local people who have converted outbuildings into holiday homes – especially when there was talk of up to 300% Premium. It’s a difficult one this – we could end up giving ourselves a good kicking here. It’s on everyone’s mind around here.”

Gwynedd Council’s Finance Cabinet Member, Councillor Ioan Thomas, will also recommend that any additional money that comes into the Council’s coffers as a result of the change should be earmarked for tackling the homelessness crisis. He says Gwynedd saw a 47% increase in homelessness numbers over the last two years.

A 28-day public consultation was held in order to help elected members decide whether to increase the Premium or not.

Coun. Ioan Thomas, said: “Of all the consultations the Council has carried out over recent years, this exercise has triggered the largest number of responses with more than 7,300 people taking part. I am grateful to all of them for taking advantage of this opportunity to voice their opinion.


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SundanceKid
SundanceKid
7 days ago

It is not council tax premiums that is killing these communities. It is second homes coupled with a cost-of-living crisis.

I am sorry but if we are not brave and do not take robust action now, we will eventually have no Welsh communities to speak of.

Your choice.

Last edited 7 days ago by SundanceKid
Stevie B
Stevie B
7 days ago
Reply to  SundanceKid

It is overly simplistic to view all second home owners as having a negative impact on local communities. I am a second home owner from a Welsh speaking family with a full-time job near my second home. I had a dilemma do I pay rent for 10 years or do I pay a mortgage? Which ever option I chose I’ll be living in the ‘second’ home community 4 or 5 day a week. I chose to pay a mortgage. I know I am fortunate to have a choice. Finally, often social housing isn’t used by local people it is used… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
7 days ago
Reply to  Stevie B

If you spend 5 days a week in your ‘2nd home’ should that home be your prime residence?

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
6 days ago
Reply to  Stevie B

Sorry, I am confused.

Your situation does not make you sound like a second home owner in the strictest sense!

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
7 days ago

It is Corporation Tax and income tax that should be invested in our communities. The problem is that all profits from tourism (and anything else earned by Welsh people) is taken by the UK’s revenue & customs regime, most will be spent in England for their pet projects that won’t ever benefit Wales, such as HST2, and of course paying for the crisis they created such as Brexit and the financial crisis caused by their own actions. Cymru Wales must take control of our own country. We cannot trust the UK regime to deliver any benefits for Wales or its… Read more »

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
7 days ago

Jersey Housing Rules now! All who address this issue, please copy.

Last edited 7 days ago by I.Humphrys

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