Views sought on second home taxes in Wales

The Welsh government has launched a consultation on potential changes to local taxes, which could be used by local authorities to tackle the effects that large numbers of second homes and commercial holiday lets have on the country.

The consultation will seek views on the maximum level at which local authorities can set council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties, and the criteria for a property to be defined as non-domestic, self-catering accommodation.

It also aims to get feedback on the circumstances in which properties are classed as self-catering businesses and are listed for non-domestic rates.

Currently all occupied small business properties below a specified rateable value are eligible for Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR), subject to a limit of two properties per business per local authority.

Wales is the only UK nation to give local authorities the power to introduce a 100% council tax premium on both second homes and homes that are empty for more than a year.

The additional income that local authorities make from these measures can be used to address issue affecting the supply of affordable housing or for the provision of public services and other facilities such as public transport.

Climate change minister, Julie James, said: ‘We cherish our reputation in Wales as a welcoming, bilingual society in which tourism and current second home owners have a contribution to make.

‘However we also recognise the impact that higher numbers of second homes and self-catered holiday lets can have on local housing and rental markets and on the sustainability of local communities. In some areas they may compromise the sustainability of Welsh as a community language.’

Finance and local government minister, Rebecca Evans, added: ‘We want to hear from people living in communities affected by these issues as well as owners of second homes and holiday lets, trade representatives of the self-catering and tourism industry, and local authorities.

‘We anticipate receiving a wide range of responses which will all inform our future policies on potential changes to local taxes so that we have a fairer system for everyone.’

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and can be viewed here.

In related news, communities in Brighton & Hove are set to benefit from more than £330,000, as part of a new planning contribution on development that has yielded its first major payment.

Photo supplied by the Welsh government


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