A New Clear Deterrence Call

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They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

And, as a new party deprived of much media oxygen, we are certainly going to bask in the sunlight of that imitation today.

Although we will also be flagging up some of the limitations involved, as Labour partly instigated one of Gwlad’s flagship policies this week, announcing that local authorities can now charge up to 300% Council Tax on second homes.

Gwlad’s policy is 500% Council tax on second homes, linked to Guernsey-type residency requirements for house purchases as well.

Party Leader Gwyn Wigley Evans said it was high time action was taken.

‘We’ve been talking about this for ages, and even though we’ve come up with a 500% figure, our thinking is that it can go as high as needed to stamp it out entirely’ he said.

‘We’ve all heard of nuclear deterrence, and what we want is a new clear deterrence on this issue in Wales’.

Mr.Evans added that Labour’s move still had to be taken with a huge pinch of salt, seeing that it was not a mandated, national policy.

‘In a way, Labour are passing the buck here, saying it’s up to individual councils to impose these charges. Washing their hands of the issue, like Pontius Pilate.’

‘Again, it’s a case of Labour not being able to read the room, since this would be a very well received national policy, seeing that second homes is a problem all over Wales by now’.

There’s also the suspicion that Labour might just have set a trap here for their junior partners, Plaid.

Challenging them to put their own rhetoric into action, knowing full well it could cause internal problems for them.

It’s well known that many Plaid AMs and councillors have second homes themselves, and the leader of Plaid in Gwynedd is actually an estate agent himself, heavily involved in the second home business.

Even so, there seems no excuse now for every one of the Plaid-led administrations (Ynys Môn, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Caerfyrddin) not act as one block in introducing the maximum 300% charge from next year.

Acting as a block could help to prevent individual councils from being picked off by well-financed groups representing second home owners.

Who have already suggested they have the financial clout to challenge the Welsh Government on the policy.

All supporters of the national movement will be watching carefully to see whether our local politicians can now rise to the challenge and act in the interests of our communities.

In the meantime, Gwlad will continue to press for our 500% Council Tax charge on second homes allied to a new Guernsey-style residency requirements.

As we believe ultimately that residency requirements, as is the case in most nations, are the long term solution to this problem.

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