THIS week for the first time ever, the people of Wales have a real opportunity to express an opinion on the scourge of second homes across our land.
Gwlad – The Welsh Independence Party – has made the issue one of its three main policy concerns at the election, proposing a 500% council tax surcharge on all second homes.
Allied to a new licensing system which would ensure that no more than 5% of second homes would be permitted in any one community.
‘It’s time to step up and take back control as the popular phrase of the age goes’ said Gwlad Leader, Gwyn Wigley Evans.
‘As we all know that this second homes problem is completely out of control – not only in our rural areas, but also in places like Swansea and Blaenau Gwent as well by now.’
Mr. Evans said the people of Wales had an unprecedented opportunity at the election on Thursday to say no to this wholesale community-wrecking by voting for Gwlad.
‘We’re not going for some tokenistic 100% increase like some are doing – the basic point is, it’s got to be set at a much higher rate, i.e 500%, to be able to stop the practice, and hopefully start to reverse it”.
‘There’s a handy formula to follow with this: houses still selling for second homes? Council Tax not high enough. Simples.’
Gwlad’s policy has received endorsements from some unexpected sources.
Firstly, popular YouTube commentator, the Englishman Jeff Taylor. Showing an unusual amount of insight into the scourge of second homes in Wales, Taylor said the practice was destroying Welsh communities, and driving local people to despair.
Basically acknowledging that it’s only punitive financial disincentives on second homes ownership which can really start to address the issue.
‘We’re grateful to Jeff Taylor for endorsing our policy and for recognising that it’s only with this type of hard headed pragmatism that we have any hope of solving this crisis’ said Mr Evans.
‘It’s just bizarre that an English commentator, living in the South East of England is so ahead of the curve on this issue, compared to our commentariat here in Wales’.
Then the notorious environmentalist campaigner George Monbiot, not normally known for advocacy on behalf of Welsh people even though he lives here, not only made the same argument on Twitter today but suggested exactly the same 500% council-tax increase as that given in the Gwlad manifesto.
‘Even a stopped clock is right twice a day’ quipped Stephen Morris, writing from the official @Gwlad_Gwlad Twitter account.
With access to housing itself being such a problem for ordinary people in Wales, and an estimated 90% of all new housing here built for incomers since 1973 (per Office of National Statistics figures) second homes have become the most glaring symbol of the sheer injustice of the whole system.
So, you want someone to do something about it?
That will be Gwlad then.