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Ceredigion Mid Wales Politics

Ceredigion: Voting dispensations calls on second homes/empty properties tax rates

SEVEN Ceredigion councillors, including its leader, are seeking dispensation to speak on the potential raising of second homes/empty property taxes in the county as they own more than one property.

Ceredigion currently has a 25 per cent premium on both second homes and empty properties, while neighbouring authorities have higher levels; Pembrokeshire at 100 per cent, Carmarthenshire at 50 per cent, and Powys at 75 per cent.

New Welsh Government local tax rules now allow local authorities being to collect council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties at up to 300 per cent.

Ceredigion recently held a consultation on potential changes in these charges, which finished late last month.

Ahead of any council debate on potential changes in the premium, the seven councillors have asked for dispensations to speak and vote on the subject – or parts of it – when it is considered by members.

The council’s Ethics and Standards Committee, meeting on December 4, will hear requests for dispensation from Leader of Ceredigion County Council Councillor Bryan Davies, Cllr Ifan Lloyd Davies, Cllr Catrin M S Davies, Cllr Marc Davies, Cllr Meirion Davies, Cllr William wyn Evans, and Cllr Rhodri Evans.

Plaid Cymru group leader Cllr Bryan Davies is elected leader of Ceredigion County Council at a meeting on May 13

In his submission, Cllr Bryan Davies says: “I want to be completely transparent with the public. I co-own a house which is rented long-term to a family in Lampeter.

“The house has not been used as a second-home or a holiday home and the tenants pay council tax on the house.”

Cllr Ifan Lloyd Davies says: “I have properties within Ceredigion that I rent out to full time tenants and holiday let accommodation. But are not second homes.

“I believe that I should be given dispensation as I feel I can offer a balanced opinion and reasoning to the discussion and decision, I feel that the principal is no different to setting the yearly council tax, of which I am a part of every year.”

Cllr Catrin M S Davies asked for dispensation to speak and vote on holiday/second homes: “I do not have a personal interest in the matter of holiday homes. I have had dispensation to speak on the matter of empty properties but not to vote because I own an empty property.

“But I do not own a holiday home and do not benefit from a holiday home and none of my family benefit from a holiday home either.

“I would like to differentiate between the two votes. That is, I do not have an interest in holiday homes therefore I ask for dispensation to speak and vote on that particular matter.”

Cllr Marc Davies said: “I wish to convey that I own properties that are let on long term tenancies. However, I believe that this does not prejudice me from speaking at full council.”

Councillor Meirion Davies said: “I have been running a holiday let for 10 years on my farm with a planning application with clauses for that purpose. It is exempt under 182-day qualification.

“As an owner of a holiday let, I would like to be able to speak and vote regarding my business.”

Cllr William wyn Evans said: “I part own a property other than where I live. This is let/rented to a tenant. The council will, sometime in the future, consider the council tax premium for second homes and long – term empty properties.

“I do believe that any properties I own are/would be affected by this discussion however as the guidelines are not clear as to whether my property falls into these categories. I do believe it is more transparent to apply for a dispensation to be safe.”

Details of Cllr Rhodri Evans’ request were not available on the papers published ahead of the meeting.

For the 23/24 budget there were 33,856 chargeable properties in Ceredigion, 1,697 of them second homes and 592 empty properties, the two classes representing 6.8 per cent of all properties.

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