Housing crisis: Tory MS tells Welsh Gov not to be ‘reactionary’ on second homes
A Tory MS has told the Welsh Government not to be “reactionary” on the issue of second homes.
During a debate on the housing crisis, Conservative Senedd member Samuel Kurtz suggested that there is “only limited robust evidence” that addresses the impact of second homes on the Welsh language.
The most recent statistics by Welsh Revenue Authority show that 44 per cent of the homes sold in Dwyfor Meirionnydd last year were sold at the higher rate, the majority of which are understood to be used as second homes.
Kurtz asked the Minister for the Welsh language, Jeremy Miles, to “collect more evidence” in order to avoid making decisions that were “knee-jerk”.
In response, the minister said he didn’t “accept” that the Welsh Government was approaching the issue in a way that was “reactionary”.
He added that it does “need data” so that it could find the “right answers and solutions”.
Samuel Kurtz said: “The Welsh research paper on second-home ownership published yesterday states, and I quote: ‘There is only limited robust evidence however, that addresses the impact of second homes on community sustainability and cohesion, including for example on Welsh language and culture’.
“Given that the Welsh language community housing plan is scheduled for consultation this autumn, as you mentioned, Minister, are the Welsh Government looking at undertaking any further research to collect more evidence to ensure decisions made are robust, fair and long-standing, rather than knee-jerk and reactionary?”
Jeremy Miles responded: “Well, I wouldn’t accept that this is happening in a way that’s reactionary.
“I think that there is an obvious problem here for communities where Welsh is the main language and I think that problem is obvious to many of us, and certainly we do need data and we do certainly need to look carefully at the definitions that we use in this area, and those are important so that we have the right answers or solutions, but that work can happen as we take forward this work programme.”
Plaid Cymru Senedd member Mabon ap Gwynfor said: “The most recent statistics by revenue Cymru show that 44 per cent of the homes sold in Dwyfor Meirionnydd last year were sold at the higher rate.
“Now there are many definitions of what that means, but I’ve spoken to estate agents and lawyers in the area and it’s clear that the vast majority of those homes were sold as second homes.
“The statistics for the previous year were very similar too. It is clear therefore that there is a crisis in our communities and we need to see urgent action. It’s a concern therefore that this committee will not meet until the autumn and we don’t know when it will report back with recommendations, never mind actually implementing those recommendations.”