Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter
A council is urging residents to speak up over controversial plans to raise the council tax premium for second and long term vacant homes to 300 percent.
Gwynedd Council’s cabinet is set to consider a recommendation to press ahead with a public consultation over the proposal for the 2023/24 financial year.
The proposed rise is being considered in a bid to tackle the shortage of affordable housing and the high number of second homes within the county.
If the council’s cabinet votes to proceed, there will be a 28 day public consultation throughout September and October 2022 inviting comments.
Following that, a report on the results will be presented back to the cabinet at its meeting on November 22.
The council says this is to allow sufficient time to submit a recommendation on the level of the council tax premium for 2023/24 to the full council in December, 2022.
Councillor Ioan Thomas, Gwynedd Council’s Finance Cabinet Member, said: “Due to a change in the law, Gwynedd Council can charge a premium of up to 300% on second homes from April 1, 2023 onwards, which is significantly more than the 100% that is currently being levied on second homes.
“Any money that comes into the Council’s coffers through the premium is invested in schemes to ensure that the people of Gwynedd have access to a suitable, affordable homes of quality which improves their quality of life.
“The premium is one of the tools the council has in order to tackle the shortage of affordable housing and the high number of second homes within the county.”
Councillor Thomas emphases that no decision about the level of council tax would be made by the cabinet on September 27.
“This is one step in the process of setting the council tax,” he explained.
“The full council has to make an annual decision on the rate of the premium.
“As we now have the right to further increase the premium on second homes it is appropriate and sensible for us as cabinet to ensure there is an opportunity to scrutinise the matter, then we councillors will have all the information to make the decision in full council in December.
“If the rest of the cabinet agrees, and the consultation goes ahead, I encourage everyone with an interest in the matter to take advantage of the opportunity and to share their views.”
The council says the consultation, if given the green light, will allow the council to gather evidence to ensure that its council tax premium policy has been “properly assessed against the principles of equality and sustainable development.”
The cabinet meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 27.
The agenda of the meeting is available on the Council’s website Agenda for The Cabinet on Tuesday, 27th September, 2022, 1.00 pm (llyw.cymru)
The public can also watch the meeting live on the website: Cartref – Gweddarllediadau Cyngor Gwynedd (public-i.tv).
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