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Liberal Democrats say they will ‘crack down on second homes’ which have ‘blighted’ communities

30 Mar 2021 2 minutes Read
Abersoch, which is popular with second home owners. Picture by Ken Doerr (CC BY 2.0)

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have pledged to crack down on second home ownership which the party says has “blighted” many communities.

Stephen Churchman Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for Dwyfor Meirionydd said that second homes had forced many to move away and prevented others from owning a home in their own community.

He said that if they won the Senedd election they would legislate to allow local authorities to set council tax at the maximum possible level for second homes.

“The lack of affordable housing is a significant barrier for rural communities and for young people seeking a future in their own communities,” he said.

“We will ensure that the right houses are built in the right places in order to meet local needs.

“We will crack down on second homes. People in rural communities have been priced out or left with scarce housing. We will institute legislation that requires local authorities to set council tax at the maximum possible level for all homes other than someone’s primary residence.

“We will close loopholes that allow people to designate second homes as businesses and ensure that they pay their way to support the communities locally. “

Councils have had the power to introduce council tax premiums of up to 100% on second homes, and also long-term empty properties, since 2017.

This year nine councils out of Wales’s 22 will charge a second home premium, affecting 24,873 people. In eight of them, the council tax premium is between 25% and 50%.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith have called on the Welsh Government to give Local Authorities powers to control the housing market, including adding a limit on second homes in a particular area.

Welsh Language Minister, Eluned Morgan, has said that Labour will look again at the issue if they’re re-elected.

She said she was “highly aware of the strong feelings, particularly in some parts of Wales, on the issue of second homes”.

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