Gwynedd council has urged the Government to act quickly and effectively on the housing crisis.

The council believes it has done everything within its powers to address the problem, and now the national governmnet must step in.

Following the approval of its cabinet next week, the council intends to formally respond to Dr Simon Brooks' government-commissioned report - Second Homes - Developing New Policies in Wales.

The report, published in March, will be presented to the council’s cabinet next week, with members expected to recommend that the Government urgently adopts and implements the most effective recommendations.

It makes twelve recommendations, including council tax premiums, government intervention on planning, and caps on the number of second homes in communities.

The problem of second homes and inflated property prices is particularly acute in Gwynedd.

Research by the council shows that nearly 60 per cent of people are priced out of the housing market in the county. Gwynedd also has the highest percentage of holiday homes in Wales with 11 per cent of housing stock holiday or second homes, compared to the Welsh average of 2.56 per cent.

Leader of Gwynedd Council, Dyfrig Siencyn, said: "With 11 per cent of the county's housing stock being second homes, the highest percentage in Wales, a significant number of our residents are facing a situation where they cannot afford to buy a home within their local community.

“We believe this is unjust. Gwynedd Council's clear and firm desire is to ensure that every possible measure is used to try to respond to the housing crisis facing the county's residents in their communities today.

“It is clear that the increase in the numbers of second homes in our communities is making a significant contribution to pushing house prices beyond the reach of local residents and it is our priority to do everything within our power to respond to the situation here.”

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One recommendation the council does not agree with is the potential for short-term holiday accommodation being exempt from small business rates relief, something campaigners believe is a loophole that will be too easily exploited.

Instead, the council wants that point amended so that second homes are taxed as a 'house', regardless of use.

Mr Siencyn continued: “What the Welsh Government is proposing won’t prevent second homes from ‘flipping’, so we will continue to be in a position where some second homes pay less taxes and do not pay the Council tax premium at all, which we reinvest in local housing issues.

"We believe this is depriving the people of Gwynedd and we feel strongly that second homes need to be prevented from converting to the non-domestic rates system."

In December 2020, the Anglesey and Gwynedd Joint Planning Policy Service published detailed research into the situation around second home ownership and made clear policy recommendations that would address the increase in the number of second homes.

Four of these six recommendations are included in Dr Simon Brooks' recommendations.

To date, the council has adopted a number of measures within its power, including new local lettings policy for social housing and increasing the council tax premium to a maximum of 100 per cent on second homes.

It also uses money raised by this premium, along with an additional £30 million, to fund a programme of projects to ensure that the people in the county have access to suitable and affordable homes in their local community.

First minister Mark Drakeford has said the Government’s proposals to tackle the second-homes crisis will move forward this month.

Mr Drakeford said he expects his cabinet "to have a paper before the end of this month drawing together all those ideas [and] giving us some practical proposals to consider".

For people feeling the squeeze on the ground, those proposals becoming action cannot come quick enough.

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