‘Grotesque’: Guardian columnist slams second homes at Welsh housing conference
A Guardian columnist has slammed second homes and has called the housing crisis engulfing Wales a “grotesque and disgusting situation”.
George Monbiot made the comments as he addressed delegates at the annual People and Homes Conference by housing charity Shelter Cymru, which was held online yesterday.
The environmental campaigner and author said second homes are causing “community death” in regions of Wales, especially in areas that are strongholds of the Welsh language and culture.
He praised some of the Welsh Government’s proposals to get to grips with the issue second homes but also called on it to go further.
According to Monbiot affordability of homes in Wales and the explosion of second homes that has driven local people out of the market across rural and coastal Wales, which he said has had a “catastrophic” impact on local people.
He quoted the statistic that, UK wide, there are roughly twice as many second homes as there are homeless households, saying that “greed is displacing need”.
One of the main drivers of this, he said, was the increasing cost of land, which has risen 500% since 1995 because it has become a speculative market.
He also called for policy changes in terms of taxation of second homes and a call for planning permission to be implemented for “change of use” when a home becomes a second home or a holiday let, controlled by each local authority.
Monbiot emphasised the urgent need for more affordable social homes to tackle the housing crisis in Wales, saying: “The right houses need to be built for those who need them”.