The final sign off to double council tax on second homes has been given by Pembrokeshire’s full council.
There were only eight votes against proposals to increase the premiums on second home council tax to 100 per cent with the potential for an extra £2.3million to be raised for affordable house building and community grants.
At its meeting on Thursday (October 14) councillors discussed recommendations from cabinet to not only increase the premium from April 2022 but to also split the money collected 75/25 between affordable home development, particularly in areas affected by second home ownership, and the enhancing Pembrokeshire fund.
It was also agreed that the long term empty homes property tax premiums remain the same but that the money raised is used to bring many more empty homes back into occupation by working with the owners and that work should commence without delay.
A number of concerns were raised by councillors including those caught out by the tax by accommodation they don’t class as a second home, whether it would simply cause people to switch to business rates and how this would impact the amount of money raised.
Cllr Bob Kilmister, cabinet member for finance, and Cllr Michelle Bateman, cabinet member for housing, emphasised that the tax rise was the only “tool” the council had to try to combat housing issues but it was hoped that Welsh Government is also seeking solutions.
Cllr Kilmister said it Welsh Government would pay the average Welsh council tax for that property – more than Pembrokeshire council tax but less than the premium – for houses transferred to business use.
He added that the enhancing Pembrokeshire grants had done a lot of good in communities impacted by second home ownership, following questions about whether it fits its brief from Cllr Jacob Williams.