Plaid Cymru and Labour cooperation agreement includes ‘immediate and radical action’ on second homes
Plaid Cymru and Labour’s cooperation agreement unveiled today includes a commitment to taking ” immediate and radical action” to tackle the number of second homes in Wales and to make housing more affordable.
The steps include “using the planning, property and taxation systems” to cap second homes and greater powers for local authorities to increase taxes on second homes.
The agreement says that the Welsh Government will “take immediate and radical action to address the proliferation of second homes and unaffordable housing, using the planning, property and taxation systems.
“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 second homes.
It adds that they “will explore local authority mortgages.”
The agreement between Plaid Cymru and Labour is a joint policy programme covering 46 areas, ranging from the delivery of free school meals to all primary school pupils; a commitment to take immediate and radical action to address the second homes crisis, to long-term reform of the Senedd.
Plaid Cymru Members will not be joining the Welsh Government as Ministers or Deputy Ministers. Plaid Cymru will appoint a designated lead member for the agreement and committees made up of Welsh Ministers and Plaid Cymru designated members will be established to reach agreement on issues covered by the Co-operation Agreement.
The Welsh Government is currently holding a public consultation on the matter and calling on public to have its say on local taxes on second homes and holiday lets.
Views are being sought on potential changes to local taxes which could be used by local authorities to tackle the effects that large numbers of second homes and commercial holiday lets can have in some parts of Wales.
The Welsh Government consultation on council tax and non-domestic rates is part of what it is calling a summer of action which was launched by Climate Change Minister Julie James last month to address the impact of second home ownership seen in some of Wales’ communities.
The move comes amid a housing crisis, which has seen house prices surge, and many people unable to afford to buy properties in their own communities.
The Welsh Government says it wants to ensure all homeowners and businesses make a fair contribution to the communities in which they own or let property.
Language campaigners have however criticised the lack of action, saying that the problem of unaffordable homes and rents was one that was felt across the country.
Speaking at a rally two weeks ago, the Head of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Mabli Siriol Jones said that the problem of unaffordable homes and rents was one that was felt across the country.
“People see the injustice of the housing and planning system in their daily lives, all over the country. It is not right that some have more than one house, while others are homeless,” she said.
“The evidence is clear — be it the people who have to choose between paying for heat or rent; the young people who have to leave their community to be able to afford a home; or the people who see the life of their communities in decline because of luxury second homes that remain vacant for most of the year.
“The free market is at the heart of these Wales-wide problems, which manifest themselves in a variety of ways in our communities. But this is the result of political decisions, and things can be done differently. We have won before, and if we pull together as communities and campaign hard, we will sooner or later see a transformed housing and property system. Together, we have the power.”