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Second homes and holiday lets in Wales face crackdown

First Minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price have announced new measures to control second homes in Wales (PA)
First Minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price have announced new measures to control second homes in Wales (PA)

New measures will be introduced in Wales to control the numbers of second homes and holiday lets, the Welsh Government has announced.

Under the proposals a new licensing scheme for people who want to operate short-term holiday lets, such as Airbnb, is also planned.

First Minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price made the announcement as made as part of their co-operation agreement.

The package of measures includes changes to planning regulations by the end of the summer, statutory licensing scheme for all holiday lets and plans for local authorities to increase land transaction tax rates on second homes and holiday lets.

Local authorities have already been given the power to increase council tax on second homes by 300% from next year.

Mr Drakeford said: “We are today setting out the next steps in a radical programme to ensure everyone has the opportunity to afford to live in their local community – whether that’s buying or renting a home.

“We have a shared ambition for Wales to be a nation of thriving communities – a country where people do not have to leave to find good and rewarding work and a country which people want to come to visit and to live.

“Tourism is vital to our economy but having too many holiday properties and second homes, which are empty for much of the year, does not make for healthy local communities and prices people out of the local housing market.

“There is no single, simple solution to these issues. Any action we take must be fair. We do not want to create any unintended consequences, which could destabilise the wider housing market or make it harder for people to rent or buy.”

Mr Price said: “We are committed to using a range of planning, taxation and property levers to tackle the issue of second and unaffordable homes – and to do so with urgency.

“The package of purposeful measures that have been developed as a result of the constructive cooperation between Plaid Cymru and the Government in this area will, together, begin to address the injustices in our housing system and make a real difference to people and communities right across our nation.

“The aim is to give everyone ‘yr hawl i fyw adra’– the ability to live and work in the communities in which they grew up.”

The Welsh Conservatives accused the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru of taking the first steps to a “tourism tax”.

Tom Giffard, shadow minister for culture, tourism and sport, said: “To me, this looks like the precursor to a tourism tax which will destroy the tourism sector in Wales and cost a huge number of jobs.

“Ministers must make sure that this scheme does not punish people who work hard to make our tourism businesses thrive, especially after the damage of pandemic restrictions.”