Holiday homes owners are facing a 25 per cent hike in council tax bills next year.

Councillors agreed at a meeting on Thursday, September 24, to raise the council tax premium on holiday homes to 75 per cent above the county's usual rate of tax.

A consultation was recently launched into plans to raise council tax by 100 per cent on long-term empty properties in Powys – but it has now been confirmed that this will not include holiday homes or second homes.

However, a motion by Plaid Cymru group leader Cllr Elwyn Vaughan before the council yesterday proposed taking the existing 50 per cent premium to 75 per cent, and that has now been passed by council members.

They voted against a Labour group motion to take that premium to 100 per cent, however.

At the moment  a 50 per cent council tax premium that affects 1,262 holiday and second homes contributes about £700,000. The new motion is intended to add another £350,000 to that sum.

Labour councillor Cllr Sarah Williams, who proposed taking the premium to 100 per cent, said: “People who can afford second homes are people who can afford these premiums.

“If they don’t, all well and good, our younger people are able to buy properties in the area. A lot of these people are using loopholes to avoid paying council tax.”

Cllrs Claire Mills and Lucy Roberts argued that holiday and second home owners contribute to the local community by buying local, visiting pubs and restaurants during their stay.

Cllr Aled Davies (Llanrhaedr-ym-Mochnant & Llansilin – Conservative), said: “Currently these home owners are paying 150 per cent council tax, some of these owners do become part of the community.

“An increase in premium may cause some owners to consider other premium avoidance options and could create a risk to the future collection.

“It will be a driver for people to register for business rates rather than council tax, our income as a council could fall significantly.”

Cllr Davies went on to criticise Cllr Vaughan for using council debates as a “platform” for furthering his own political career. Cllr Vaughan hopes to stand as a Plaid Cymru candidate on the Mid and West Wales regional list at next years Welsh Parliament elections.

County Times:

Elwyn Vaughan

Cllr Davies also attacked the Plaid Cymru record at local authorities where they are the ruling administration such as Cerdigion and Ynys Môn.

He pointed out that premiums paid on holiday/second homes there are half those charged in Powys, and also complained that Labour run councils in South Wales don’t charge the premium.

“Punitive taxation is not the solution when addressing local housing need,” said Cllr Davies.

Adults Social Services portfolio holder, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander (Independent – Banwy),  believed holiday/second homes affects the Welsh language in a bad way.

Cllr Alexander, said: “All of our rural communities are vulnerable and fragile, all of our young people struggle to get their foot on the ladder.

“There is collateral damage when young Welsh speaking people can no longer afford to live in places where it is a community language.”

The amendment for 100 per cent was lost by 21 votes for to 30  against and one abstention.

The second vote on Cllr Vaughan’s motion was passed by 33 votes for , 17 against and one abstention.