A petition arguing that second and holiday homeowners are eroding Welsh culture and language is gathering steam in Wales.
The petition has garnered more than 5,580 signatures and argues that the growth of holiday homes contravenes the Well-being of Future Generations Act, which promotes safeguarding of future generations in the country.
It calls for the creation of a Citizens Assembly on housing to drive change, as well as for the Welsh government to create a bill to address housing inequality.
The issue of second or holiday homes is a prominent one in Wales, as local authorities have the power to introduce 100% council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty homes.
However properties registered as holiday lets are charged non-domestic rates rather than Council Tax.
There’s been a 45% increase of second homes in Pembrokeshire since 2017-18 according to figures from the Welsh government, leading to fears that culture is being sucked out of the scenic communities in the country.
Support for independence campaign YesCymru is growing, likely pointing to a hostility towards English holiday homeowners.
Estate agency group Propertymark met with Welsh Conservative spokesperson for housing Janet Finch-Saunders this week.
It said the most vital topic centred around how second homeowners are classified.
Propertymark argued that varying types of second home purchasers, from landlords who rent their properties on either a long- or short-term basis to those who simply visit second homes, add different levels of benefit to the local economy yet could be placed under a catch-all classification.
The petition in full:
Protect the people of Wales – Take urgent action on the housing crisis now
Local people are being priced out of their own communities. This is destroying our culture and language. Simply building more houses is not enough.
We call for a fundamental rethink of policy to prioritise the social, cultural and economic needs of the people of Wales in line with Cymraeg 2050 and the Well-being of Future Generations Act.
Give people a say on solving our housing crisis: implement the eight demands of the Housing Justice Charter and set up a Citizens Assembly to drive change.
Covid has shown the need for decisive Welsh Government action to deal with a major crisis. Urgent action is needed now to address our housing crisis, before local cultures and language are lost and an out of control housing market destroys urban and rural Welsh communities.
The Housing Justice Charter group is a non-party political collaboration from across Wales. We researched all the issues and solutions proposed by others and summed them up in eight achievable and positive areas for action.
Implement the Charter’s demands; use a Citizens Assembly to drive the change:
1. Declare a housing emergency in Wales
2 Create a bill to address housing inequality.
3. Protect our communities; rural and urban.
4. Protect Welsh Language and culture.
5. Reform social housing provision.
6 Urgently address the pressing issue of second home ownership.
7. Reform planning laws to respond to local housing needs.
8. Create a citizens assembly on housing.
For more on each demand see siartercartrefi.org