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‘Unparalleled’ and ‘groundbreaking’ measures are tackling second homes and affordability in Wales

Barmouth, Gwynedd

Climate Change Minister Julie James has today (12 March 2024) delivered a statement on the Welsh Government’s approach to tackling issues caused by second home ownership that she described as being ‘unparalleled in a UK context’.

Addressing the large number of second homes and short-term lets in many communities is one of the commitments outlined in the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government and the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru.

To achieve this, a range of action has been taken to help manage future numbers of second homes and short-term lets.

From April 2023, local authorities have had the powers to introduce higher discretionary council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties – up to 300%.

From April this year, 18 will be applying premiums on one or both of these types of properties.

Several local authorities have also indicated they intend to increase the percentage charged year-on-year over a three-year period, up to the new maximum, particularly for long-term empty properties.

Support has also been put in place for struggling homeowners.

An immediate priority was considering a gap in the market for those struggling to afford mortgage payments and at serious risk of losing their home due to the cost-of-living crisis.

In that context, the Help to Stay Wales scheme was developed and launched in November 2023, with up to £40 million available over two years to help keep people and families in their homes.

Last year, the £50 million Empty Homes Grant scheme was also introduced, helping bring up to 2,000 long-term empty homes back into occupation.

The Welsh Government also protected the £25 million budget for 2024/25 and deferred £19 million of the 2023-24 budget to 2025-26 to maximise the scheme’s impact.

For further information please select the following links:

Business Wales Helpline

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