Posted: Fri 29th Mar 2024

Second Home-Owners in Pembrokeshire Facing Financial Hardship and Suicidal Thoughts

news.wales / newyddion.cymru

Second home-owners in Pembrokeshire are paying as much as £11,000 in council tax following the introduction of treble tax rate, which has even led to some contemplating suicide, a support group has said.
Pembrokeshire has been operating a 100 per cent council tax premium for second homes, effectively a double rate, for several years.
Back in December, members Pembrokeshire’s full council backed a Cabinet-supported 200 per cent premium for second homes, effectively a treble rate, from April onwards.
Pembrokeshire Second Homes Support Group, run by Chris Morgan, formerly of Pembroke Dock and Siân Evans of Cardiff, was formed “from a need to inform reassure and assist members to cope with the latest increase in the council tax second homes premium from 100 per cent to 200 per cent”.
They said: “As the council tax demands for 2024-25 arrive, we have discovered massive increases. Typical council tax bills are running between £5,000 and £11,000. We believe that in the extensive meetings and debate concerning the 2024-2025 budget, the effect of these premiums on those paying them has been overlooked.”
In a message to Pembrokeshire County Council, the group said: “We have been disregarded in this matter, despite the fact that your budget relies on us.  Being the lowest council tax in the land seems to be the goal, but at our expense.
“Four weeks’ notice has been given for these increases. People have been left desperate. All of us have faced stress and anxiety over this, some have suffered depression on a clinical level.
“Look closely and you will see the increased level of housing stock on the market. Look past those worrying economic indicators, and consider that some of these houses have been in families for centuries and placed on the market in panic.
“Your assumption that these payments are possible is inaccurate. You chose to disregard the results of your own consultation and the requests of your own members who for more analysis of this exploitive tax and its effects.
“We are placing Pembrokeshire County Council on notice that after years of paying hugely inflated amounts, this has now come to an end. It is exploitative and in our opinion the result of poor financial management. We consider our fiscal relationship with this council to be fractured, without trust and in some cases dangerous to our members’ health.”
Chris said: “The picture of abject misery and hardship is unfolding as we speak with at least one so-called second home-owner contemplating suicide.
“These are not Rachman types caught up in this, but ordinary folk committed to our county and of long standing. More often than not, like myself, part of the diaspora.”
He added: “There is no group policy on payment and individuals will act as they will. However, some members are reporting that they cannot afford it and are putting their homes on the market. One member is so desperate that she is considering suicide.
“These are ordinary folk, vast majority Welsh, who are being treated as predatory outsiders.”
Pembrokeshire County Council has been contacted for a response. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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