English second home owners will have to pay 250 PER CENT of their council tax bill in bid to provide more homes for Welsh locals
- Gwynedd Council will introduce a 150% increase on top of their full council tax
- The increase will effect those who are not permanent residents
- The extra £3m to provide homes for local people who are struggling
- The changes will fall into place in April 2023
An area of Wales widely known for its high tourism numbers is set to bring in a significant increase to council tax bills for people who are not permanent residents.
Property owners face paying 250 per cent of their council tax bill as the local council introduces a 150 per cent increase on top of their full council tax in a clampdown on second homes in one of Britain’s most scenic areas.
This is set to be introduced in one of the most popular areas for holiday homes along the Welsh coast in the county of Gwynedd – including Snowdonia and the North Wales coast.
The increase has been agreed by the council’s cabinet and will be presented to a meeting of the full council in December. This change could introduce Gwynedd as one of the first Welsh counties to make use of new authorities announced by the Welsh Government to allow councils increase council tax bills premiums on second homes
Second home property owners in Gwynedd face paying 250 per cent of their council tax bill in efforts to clampdown on holiday homes in local areas
The Welsh Government minister for finance and local government, Rebecca Evans, has previously announced that the change will come into effect on April 1 next year.
Discussions around the Council Tax Premium across Wales has largely focused on the impact of holiday homes on the local housing economy as it has widely led to an increase in prices surpassing what some local residents can afford.
Additionally, council chiefs in Gwynedd raised the tax premium from double – and use the extra £3m to provide homes for local people who are struggling to find a roof over their head.
It will hit second home owners in the county including well-heeled seaside villagers such as Abersoch where properties sell for more than £3m and is dubbed Cheshire-on-Sea.
Gwynedd property prices
In Gwynedd, the average house price in the county is £230,998 according to the Wales House Price Index from Principality Building Society.
The household residents need to buy in the county would be £51,333.
According to Stats Wales, in 2020 the average gross disposable household income for a Gwynedd resident was £16,007 a year, with many jobs in the county heavily dependent on the tourist industry.
As of July this year Gwynedd had 4,720 chargeable second properties for the period 2022/3, which is a slight fall from the previous year’s figure of 5,098, reports Welsh Government data.
The extra money is set to tackle rising homelessness in the county since the pandemic with local people forced into BnBs.
It could have upped the premium to 300% thanks to new Welsh Government rules but decided not to – yet. The situation will be monitored and reviewed.
A homeowners’ group called the move ‘morally indefensible’.
One councillor said a member of her community had been on the waiting list for social housing for three years and had had to stay in the home where a relative had killed themselves in the living room.
Another said increasing the premium showed that Welsh communities were ‘not for sale’.
Plaid Cymru finance chief Ioan Thomas described the decision ‘very significant’.
He said: ‘We believe that the basis of a sound economy is an economy where the people of Gwynedd have homes and contribute.’
He described the the homelessness figures were ‘very alarming’.
He said. ‘We can’t ignore a situation where it is estimated that 1,400 individuals will have presented themselves as homeless by the end of this year – double the number presenting before Covid-19.
‘As a council we will be accommodating over 600 people in temporary accommodation this year, where the figure was about 200 before Covid.’
Craig ab Iago, the cabinet member for housing, said the idea was not to punish people and said second-home owners were not ‘monsters’.
It will impact second home owners in the county, such as those in the seaside village of Abersoch
But he said: ‘We are in a housing crisis. We’re talking about 200 people plus sleeping in B&Bs. There is a list of more than 3,000 people waiting over three years for a social house.
June Jones, another Plaid Cymru councillor, said: ‘We have an opportunity to send out the message that we are not for sale.’ Her colleague Iwan Huws said: ‘If you’re lucky enough to own a second home in Gwynedd, the least you can do is play a bit more for the privilege.’
John Brynmor Hughes, whose ward includes the second-home hotspot of Abersoch, said pubs and restaurants were closing because second-home owners were selling up. ‘The impact is going to be enormous,’ he said.
Anwen Davies claimed plumbers, painters, joiners and gardeners would all be out of pocket if second-home owners left.
Holiday homes in the local housing economy have widely led to an increase in prices surpassing what many local residents can afford
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