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Tories complain about plan for maximum tax hike of 300% on second homes

02 Mar 2022 4 minutes Read
Janet Finch Saunders speaking in the Senedd

The Tories have complained about a move to increase the maximum council tax hike on second homes to 300%.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Housing, Janet Finch-Saunders MS, has claimed that the decision is “punishing aspiration and investment in Wales”.

She also accused the Welsh Government of “pandering to their nationalist coalition partners”.

It is part of a series of measures set out in the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

Councils across Wales will be able set the premium at any level up to the maximum, from April 2023.

The maximum premium councils can charge at the moment is 100%, which means the new measure could lead to a possible tax rise of 200%.

It will be possible to apply different rates for second homes and long-term empty dwellings.

Janet Finch-Saunders, who according to the register of interests is the Senedd’s most prolific landlord, owning or co-owning 7 properties, said: “It is deeply concerning that Labour ministers are pandering to their nationalist coalition partners and punishing aspiration and investment in Wales.

“The housing crisis is a direct result of years of successive Labour-led governments failing to provide opportunities and build enough houses, with housebuilding falling below levels before devolution. What we see is a Labour Government desperately trying to act long after the horse has bolted.

“This Labour Government is failing to tackle the root issues of the housing crisis and failing to address the fact that there are more empty homes in Wales than there are second homes.

“Labour ministers in Cardiff Bay need to get a grip, address the housing shortage in Wales and provide an environment where hard work can be rewarded.”

‘Out of reach’ 

Climate change minister Julie James said: “We want people to be able to live and work in their local communities, but we know rising house prices are putting them out of reach of many people, exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis we are facing.

“There is no easy answer or quick-fix solution. This is a complex problem that requires a wide range of actions.

“We continue to carefully consider further measures that could be introduced, and these changes are the latest steps we are taking to increase the availability of homes and ensure a fair contribution is made.”

Plaid Cymru’s Lead Designated Member Sian Gwenllian MS said: “It is clear that we as a country are facing a housing crisis. So many people cannot afford to live in their local areas, and the situation has worsened during the pandemic.

“These changes will make a difference, enabling councils to respond to their local circumstances and start to close the loophole in the current law. It’s a first but important step on a journey towards a new housing system that ensures that people have the right to live in their community.”

The criteria for self-catering accommodation being liable for business rates instead of council tax will also change from next April.

Currently, properties that are available to let for at least 140 days, and that are actually let for at least 70 days, will pay rates rather than council tax. The change will increase these thresholds to being available to let for at least 252 days and actually let for at least 182 days in any 12-month period.

The change is intended to provide a clearer demonstration that the properties concerned are being let regularly as part of genuine holiday accommodation businesses making a substantial contribution to the local economy.

Both changes follow a consultation processes including businesses, the tourism industry and local communities.


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Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans
3 months ago

Janet Finch Saunders says that “She also accused the Welsh Government of “pandering to their nationalist coalition partners”.” I WONDER WHAT SHE’S PANDERING TO.!!!!. I have never known anyone who is more predictable.

Huw
Huw
3 months ago

She is pandering to her bank balance and her Westminster overlords

Malcolmrj
Malcolmrj
3 months ago

Why is it always the Tories that Are always against anything to protect Wales SAY No More

Carol James
Carol James
3 months ago
Reply to  Malcolmrj

Because the Tories are an Anglo-Brit party

Dyn Cwm Rhymni
Dyn Cwm Rhymni
3 months ago

“Punishing aspirations and investment?” For who? Certainly not the people of Wales who want the basic right to live and work in their own community and country. And date I say, buy a home in the country of their birth without the competition of external financial resources.

Glen
Glen
3 months ago

“aspiration and investment” or just plain greed to the rest of us.

Erisian
Erisian
3 months ago

All very well saying short term holiday lets / airb&b’s will pay rates, but most are currently exempt of rates as they are deemed to be small businesses. I have heard of no intention to close this loophole. 🙁

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
3 months ago

Landlord moans about levy on landlords. Well stap me old dearios, innit?

Paul
Paul
3 months ago

“The housing crisis is due to the Labour Welsh Government failing to build”
Which has apparently also caused a housing crisis in England, somehow.

Not enough houses is one factor, but also the existing houses being removed from the residential use so another household can have a holiday without using a hotel is another reason.

Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul

“The housing crisis is due to the Labour Welsh Government failing to build” Where does this quote come from? I cannot see it in the article. If the Labour Welsh Government do anything at all it’s forcing local authorities to build houses that they don’t need when the natural population of Wales is falling. These developments are then, without a hint of irony, called ‘settlements’. The UK Collaborative Centre for Housing have demonstrated time and time again that the housing crisis is not caused by a lack of supply, but by a skewed market. The Bank of England say something… Read more »

R W
R W
3 months ago

Surprise surprise!! A “Welsh Tory” standing up for wealthy multi-home owners rather than show support to their own constituents, who have little hope of getting on the housing ladder. They really know how to back a loser.

Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas
3 months ago

They really don’t like it when they, or their chums, are knocked back, do they? it should be 300% across the board.

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