Council’s cabinet votes to revoke decision on council tax premiums for second homes
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
Conwy’s council’s cabinet voted to revoke an earlier decision to charge second home owners a 50% council tax premium.
Instead, second home owners will pay a 25% premium from April 2022, as they have done for the past three years.
Owners of long-term empty homes will pay a 50% premium from next April.
The cabinet also voted for the option to increase the premium to 50% on second homes from 1 April 2023 if they wish.
Although councils can set the council tax premium at 100% for second homes – as have Gwynedd – councillors feared cash-strapped Conwy could lose money if second home owners decided to convert properties to holiday homes. That’s because while councils can generate income from council tax, a large proportion of business rates – such as those paid by holiday home owners – are paid to government.
Cabinet member for finance Cllr Brian Cossey said he hoped for a change in legislation from Welsh Government, which would make life easier for councils dealing with owners converting properties to holiday homes.
“It is a very emotive topic, and I suspect among the 59 councillors, we have a complete spectrum of opinion on this particular issue,” he said.
“I really hope by this time next year, we’ll have new guidance, new rules, and we won’t have to worry about it because it will all be utopia in the empty homes and second homes market.”
Speaking about the option of raising the sum next year, Cllr Cossey added: “That (the option) allows us within the 12 months within the working group to carry out a further review,
“That doesn’t mean in 2023 that we will be increasing the level to 50% or 75% or 100% or whatever percentage. That just gives us the opportunity for the working group to deal with the situation once again this time next year. If we didn’t have an indicative level, then we wouldn’t be allowed to make any decision on increasing the premium.”