Plaid Cymru calls for Wales to be given powers to introduce a windfall tax on large property developers
Plaid Cymru has renewed its calls for the Welsh Government to be given the necessary powers to introduce a windfall tax on the profits of large developers.
The move follows comments made by the Minister responsible for housing, Julie James MS, during an interview with BBC Wales.
In response to a question of whether she feels she has been doing enough to “hold property developers’ feet to the fire?” with regard to getting them to pay towards the cost of fixing defective buildings she said that “I can’t threaten them with windfall tax levies and so on.”
A UK Government spokesperson told the BBC “building safety is a devolved matter” but the Welsh Government does not currently have the power to introduce such a tax.
Responding to the minister’s comments, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for housing and planning Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said: “Having the necessary power to introduce a windfall tax on the profits of property developers would give us extra tools to solve the problems created by poor builds.
“Unscrupulous developers must pay for what is clearly their fault. The problems created by poor builds can often trap owners into poor quality flats and houses with no recourse, which has been the case with the cladding scandal.”
On Thursday the minister had urged the UK Government to extend its England-only agreement with developers, which commits them to repairing defective buildings they were involved in building.
Last month thirty-five of the biggest property developers in the UK agreed to pay £5 billion towards fire safety remediation costs in England after UK ministers warned those who do not sign up for the voluntary pledge could be banned from carrying out new construction projects.
Ms James said the current “unilateral approach” to building safety makes it harder to ensure developers take their responsibilities to contribute towards the costs of fixing building safety issues in Wales seriously.
In a statement to Members of the Senedd, the minister added she was “deeply disappointed when the Secretary of State for Housing, Levelling Up and Communities Michael Gove announced an England-only developer pledge last month.”
“The Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Local Government and Housing, Shona Robison and I have repeatedly called on the UK Government to adopt a UK-wide approach to the pledge.
“The UK Government’s unilateral approach to building safety issues makes it harder to ensure all developers take their responsibilities to contribute towards the costs of fixing building safety problems in Wales seriously.
“It inhibits our ability to hold developers and manufacturers to account for fixing their mistakes and it runs counter to the recent Review of Intergovernmental Relations.”
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