‘Wales is not for sale’: Campaigners fly banners opposing second homes in holiday hotspots
Members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith have marked the start of the holiday season by flying banners with the message “Wales is not for sale” in both English and Welsh at holiday hotspots over the Easter weekend.
The demos against the housing crisis across Wales caused by the proliferation of second homes and holiday lets, was attended by activists from Gwynedd, Anglesey, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
A spokesperson for the campaigners said: “Displaying flags in both languages means that we reach people who may be thinking of buying a holiday home or already have one.
“Second homes are only part of the problem, but it’s timely at the beginning of the holiday season to draw attention to second houses, and the roads were very busy.
“There was a lot of support too – people waving and beeping their horn. The housing problem is something that is a concern for a lot of people.”
Last month it was announced that from April 2023 the maximum council tax premium payable on second homes could be raised to a whopping 300% to tackle the negative impact vacant houses, holiday lets and soaring property prices are having on local communities.
The tax hike is part of a series of measures set out in the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru to tackle the housing crisis in Wales.
The maximum premium councils can charge now is 100%, which means the new measure could lead to a possible tax rise of 200%.
Speaking after the announcement, 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.”
Climate change minister Julie James added: “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.”
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