‘Package of proposals’ to tackle second homes crisis before the end of the month says Drakeford
Mark Drakeford has said that his government will present “practical proposals” to tackle the second homes crisis in Wales before the end of the month.
He said that he was also keen to work with others within the Senedd to discuss the proposals, and added that if they were “not careful” it would soon not be possible for people born and brought up in some communities to live there.
“Progress is definitely being made inside the Welsh Government to come forward with a package of proposals,” he told Sunday Supplement.
“I expect the Cabinet to have a paper before the end of this month drawing together all those ideas and giving us some practical proposals to consider.
“Some listeners will know that an important report on this whole issue was published in March by Dr. Simon Brooks in Swansea University.
“We hope to respond to that report this month as well, and make a series of recommendations aimed at not just the Welsh Government but local authorities as well.
“So there’s a lot of activity going on in this area. What I said in my first speech in the Senedd was nobody has a monopoly of ideas or wisdom on this topic, and when we come forward with our proposals we’ll want to discuss them with others.
“And see if there are any other ideas that we could add to that repertoire, to strengthen the protections that are available in those local communities where, if we’re not careful, people who were born, brought up, and want to make their futures in those parts of Wales, simply find that that’s not possible for them.”
His comments came after protests involving hundreds of people in Gwynedd and Anglesey against being priced out of their own communities.
House prices have jumped again as a result of the Covid pandemic. The price of the average house shot up an at annual rate of 5.9% in Wales, outstripping the UK-wide average of 4.0%. In comparison, house prices in London only went up 2%.
Language campaigners have been calling of the Welsh Government to act to solve the housing crisis in Wales which means that people are often not able to buy homes in their own communities.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith intend to hold a ‘Wales is Not for Sale’ rally held at Tryweryn Dam, on Saturday 10th July where they will be challenging the next Welsh Government to introduce a Property Act as a priority.
Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s Communities Group, Elin Hywel, said last month that “without such national intervention on the part of the people of Wales, there is no way we can tackle this crisis.”
The ‘Second homes – Developing new policies in Wales’ report, published by Dr Simon Brooks in March, recommended 12 measures including changes to both the taxation and planning systems.
It suggests that regional or local interventions are required and urges all authorities to follow the lead of Gwynedd and raise the tax premium on such properties to 100%.
Other suggestions included requiring planning permission before converting a main residence into a second home or short-term holiday accommodation
Dr Brooks also advises the establishment of a commission to make further recommendations about the future of the Welsh language as a community language.
He concluded: “The likelihood is that structural problems, such as young Welsh speakers leaving rural communities due to a lack of economic opportunities, will deepen.”
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