A leading politician in Wales has spoken out in favour of second homeowners, who are under increasing scrutiny in that country and elsewhere in the UK.
The Welsh Conservative spokesperson for housing and Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy, Janet Finch-Saunders MS, will meet with representatives of ARLA Propertymark and the National Residential Landlords Association.
Propertymark previously worked with Finch-Saunders last month when she urged the Welsh Government to review the possibility of developing a dedicated housing tribunal for Wales, following increasing regulatory divergence with England.
Now she has turned her support to combat the growing scrutiny of second homeowners in Wales: Finch-Saunders has been publicly critical of the council tax premiums in Wales for second homeowners, saying they were beneficial to the local economy.
In Wales, the tourism industry amounts to some 13.3 per cent of the total economy with some 100,000 people employed in the tourism industry. This accounts for nearly 10 per cent of the Welsh workforce.
Finch-Saunders says: “With the Welsh Government consulting on possible new regulations around the sale and building of second homes, holiday-let properties and social properties, I warmly welcome this insightful virtual roundtable which will ensure that decisionmakers maintain an up-to-date picture of the market.
“These interventions come at a time when moves are being made to address the housing crisis. However, we know that tackling second homes will not solve the issue of housing affordability, a point which was reflected in a recent presentation to Senedd members by Shelter Cymru.
“Instead, Welsh Government should look at bringing forward a slate of proactive and positive proposals such as increasing house building, bringing empty properties back into use and introducing a cut in Land Transaction Tax which would remove the cap on aspiration.”
The immediate past president of ARLA Propertymark, Angela Davey, adds: “I’ve been an agent for 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like this – local authorities used to depend on the private rental sector to support people facing homelessness but there are no incentives for private landlords to remain. A short term let is potentially a much more attractive offer. Soon there will be nowhere for people to live.”
There are 67,000 households currently on housing waiting lists in Wales and as of March 31, 2019, there were an estimated 207,700 private rented sector homes in Wales – roughly 15 per cent of the housing stock in Wales.
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