New package to tackle loophole “injustice” in housing market – Siân Gwenllian MS
As part of the commitments set out in in the Co-operation Agreement, a new package of measures are being announced today (Wednesday 2 March) to help tackle the housing crisis.
The new measures include an increase to the maximum level of council tax premiums for second homes, as well as new local tax rules for holiday lets.
The measures are part of a wider commitment to address the issue of second homes and unaffordable housing, as set out in the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.
The commitment is to take immediate and radical action using the planning, property and taxation systems.
The maximum level at which local authorities can set council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties will be increased to 300%, which will be effective from April 2023.
The criteria for self-catering accommodation being liable for business rates instead of council tax will also change from next April.
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.
“Through the Co-operation Agreement, we are committed to introducing a package of measures to tackle the injustices in the housing market. Today’s announcement is just one part of that wider package. Second homes are a symptom of a wider problem - a market that treats property, not as a home, but as a way of making a profit. By working across the parties in the Senedd, we will introduce more measures, as soon as we can, to make house prices and rents genuinely affordable for people.”
Rebecca Evans, Welsh Government Minister for Finance and Local Government, said:
“These changes will give more flexibility to local authorities and provide more support to local communities in addressing the negative impacts that second homes and long-term empty properties can have. They are some of the levers we have available to us as we seek to create a fairer system.
“We will continue to make every effort to increase the supply and availability of houses, as shown by the £1bn of funding to build 20,000 low carbon social homes, contained in the budget I published at the end of last year.”