Mark Drakeford and Adam Price to unveil new package of measures to tackle second homes
First Minister Mark Drakeford and the leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price will today announce a new package of measures to address second homes in Wales.
At a joint press conference they will give an update on the action being taken to ensure everyone is able to afford to live in their local community, whether that’s buying or renting a home.
The measures will include changes to planning, taxation and plans for a new licensing scheme for holiday lets.
The Plaid Cymru and Welsh Government cooperation agreement, unveiled last year, included a commitment to take action to curb the impact of second homes on communities in Wales.
“Take immediate and radical action to address the proliferation of second homes and unaffordable housing, using the planning, property and taxation systems,” it said.
“Actions being planned include a cap on the number of second and holiday homes; measures to bring more homes into common ownership; a statutory licensing scheme for holiday lets; greater powers for local authorities to charge council tax premiums and increasing taxes on
“We will explore local authority mortgages.”
The Welsh Government have already confirmed that they will carry on with plans for tax hikes on holiday lets that do not rent out their properties for more than half the year.
Following a consultation, from April local authorities will be able to set council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties to 300% from April 2023.
The criteria for self-catering accommodation being liable for business rates instead of council tax will also change at the same time, from 70 to 182 days.
The UK Government have also decided in the interim to take further measures to curb the number of second homes in England, including new rules on second home owners renting out their properties as short-term holiday lets.
Michael Gove’s changes to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill would give regional mayors the power to restrict people renting out second properties for fewer than 90 days.
The measures in Wales have not been popular with the Welsh Conservatives however, with with Aberconwy Senedd Member Janet Finch-Saunders accusing the Welsh Government of being “obsessed” with second homes.
“Industry data suggests that Wales needs to build 12,000 homes a year by 2031 but before the pandemic we saw that the Welsh Government could barely manage half of that,” Janet Finch-Saunders said.
“Shockingly in 2018-19, we saw the number of properties completed fall to 30.6% below levels seen prior to devolution.
“This failure to deliver on new homes is compounded by the reality that the Welsh Government refuses to listen to the common-sense policy solutions that I have put forward, including the re-introduction of the Right-to-Buy scheme and amendments to planning policy.”
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