ANYONE letting out a short term holiday let in Wales will need a licence under new plans outlined by first minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price. 

The Welsh Labour Government and Plaid Cymru have set out a range of measures intended to address second homes. 

They include new planning laws and proposals to change land transaction tax. 

Plaid Cymru has a cooperation agreement with the government and Price said at the joint press conference with the first minister: "We will be introducing a statutory licensing scheme which will make it a requirement to obtain a licence to operate a short term holiday let. 

"We will consult with the policy proposals in the autumn." 

On land transaction tax the first minister said local authorities will have the ability to set higher rates. 

It has already been agreed that councils can charge up to a 300 per cent premium on council tax on homes that aren’t occupied all year round 

Drakeford said: "We will work with local authorities to develop a national framework, so they can put to us, proposals for increased land transaction rates for second homes and holiday lets, which they can then apply to their local areas. 

"The finance minister has written to the local authorities today, so that work can begin on those proposals. 

"Some of these measures are about making access to the market fairer. Others are about a better balance between second homes and holiday lets in local communities.” 

Price said he believed both Plaid and the Labour Party recognise that intervention is needed in housing and that it cannot be left just to the market, including in response to criticism from the Welsh Conservatives that supply isn’t being met as too few houses are being built. 

The first minister said steps will also be taken to support people to buy homes. He said: "We also want to do more to help people onto the property ladder. 

"The Welsh language housing communities plan which will be published in September will include proposals to give local people a fair chance in the housing market. 

"In that context, we are investigating the possibility of reintroducing local authority mortgages here in Wales, particularly aimed at first time buyers. 

"In the context of the cost of living crisis, backing from the local authority would help people access those mortgages with greater affordability at the heart of those arrangements." 

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Responding to a question that these plans could deprive some in the tourism industry who are reliant on income from holiday lets, Drakeford said: "I don't agree with the basic premise. We recognise the importance of tourism, and in many parts of Wales, holiday lets are an important part of our economy. 

"The problem is that if you are not careful, you undermine the basis of that success because you over concentrate second home ownership, which means that the things that make these places attractive assets no longer exist. You have villages where people no longer live all year round, you have communities that don't operate as communities. Those are the reasons why people come. 

"We will sustain the reasons why people come to Wales in the first place." 

Today’s measures include: 

  • Changes to planning regulations by the end of the summer. These will introduce three new planning use classes – a primary home, a second home and short-term holiday accommodation. Local planning authorities, where they have evidence, will be able to make amendments to the planning system to require planning permission for change of use from one class to another. The government will introduce changes to national planning policy to give local authorities the ability to control the number of second homes and holiday lets in any community. 
  • Plans to introduce a statutory licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation, including short-term holiday lets, making it a requirement to obtain a license. This will help raise standards across the tourism industry. 
  • Following a consultation about varying land transaction tax locally in areas with large numbers of second homes, work will start today (Monday 4 July) with local authorities to develop a national framework so they can request increased land transaction tax rates for second homes and holiday lets to be applied in their local area. 

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