Y Pwyllgor Llywodraeth Leol a Thai

Local Government and Housing Committee

26/01/2022

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Alun Davies AS
Carolyn Thomas AS
Joel James AS
John Griffiths AS Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Mabon ap Gwynfor AS
Sam Rowlands AS

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Dyfrig Siencyn Cyd-gadeirydd Fforwm Gwledig Cymdeithas Llywodraeth Leol Cymru a Chyd-lefarydd CLlLC ar Faterion Gwledig
Joint Chair of the Welsh Local Government Association Rural Forum and Joint WLGA Spokesperson on Rural Affairs
Jano Williams Cyngor Tref Trefdraeth
Newport Town Council
Jeff Smith Cyngor Tref Aberystwyth
Aberystwyth Town Council
Rhys Tudur Cyngor Tref Nefyn
Nefyn Town Council

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Catherine Hunt Ail Glerc
Second Clerk
Chloe Davies Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Jonathan Baxter Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Manon George Clerc
Clerk
Osian Bowyer Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Stephen Davies Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30.

The committee met by video-conference.

The meeting began at 09:30. 

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Welcome, everyone, to this meeting of the Local Government and Housing Committee. The first item on our agenda today is introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest. The public items of this meeting are being broadcast live on Senedd.tv, and all participants are joining by video-conference. The meeting is bilingual, and simultaneous translation is available. A Record of Proceedings will be published as usual. Aside from the procedural adaptations necessary to conduct proceedings remotely, all other Standing Order requirements for committees remain in place. Are there any declarations of interest? Mabon.

Bore da, diolch yn fawr iawn, Gadeirydd. Dim ond i ddatgan diddordeb, datgan yr hyn sydd wedi cael ei ddatgan eisoes a sydd ar fy natganiad cyhoeddus ar wefan y Senedd. Diolch yn fawr iawn.

Good morning, thank you very much, Chair. Just to declare an interest, as has been stated previously in my public declaration of interests on the Senedd website. Thank you very much.

Good morning, Chair, thanks. I'm still a Conwy county borough councillor, but I don't think we're discussing anything specific around Conwy County Borough Council.

Thanks, Chair. It's just, as everyone else is doing it, I'm a councillor as well, but it's in Rhondda Cynon Taf, so miles away from this area, I think, so that's okay.

Okay, diolch yn fawr, Joel. If for any reason, I drop out of proceedings today, technological or otherwise, committee has agreed that Alun Davies MS will step in to chair during my absence. Okay, thank you all very much.

2. Ymchwiliad i ail gartrefi: sesiwn dystiolaeth 3—llywodraeth leol
2. Inquiry into second homes: evidence session 3—local government

Item 2, then, on our agenda today is a further evidence session, our third evidence session, regarding our inquiry into second homes, and I'm very pleased to welcome Jano Williams, who's a councillor with Newport Town Council; Councillor Jeff Smith of Aberystwyth Town Council; Councillor Rhys Tudur of Nefyn Town Council, and Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn, joint chair of the Welsh Local Government Association rural forum and joint WLGA spokesperson on rural affairs. Welcome to all of you, and thank you for coming in to give evidence to committee this morning.

Perhaps I might begin with a few initial questions, before we turn to other committee members, and, firstly, a general question on the impact, so, the economic, the cultural, the social impact of second homes, holiday homes, short-term lets—the impact that they have on rural communities, including of course the impact on the Welsh language and the affordability of housing. So, just a general question about overall impact, really. Who would like to begin? Jano.

Newport, Pembrokeshire, I expect you will know, is a very small seaside town, very attractive to tourists and so on. I don't have to explain that, but the cultural, social and economic impact has been that houses that are in the centre of town—it's historically a very beautiful town—are way too expensive for local people to buy, and so, what is happening is most of our young people are moving out. Well, no, that's an exaggeration: a lot of our young people are moving out to other areas. The impact of that on the language is that we have a school that teaches through the medium of Welsh, and so, obviously, with fewer children the school is at risk.

Culturally speaking, it's more difficult to pinpoint, but I think, culturally speaking, the old—. There has become a kind of—. If I say 'divide', that's quite strong. There's a lot of sensitivity from the people who were born and raised here, who have been here for many generations, seeing the homes for the next generation being taken away, and there is a resentment between that kind—. It's a justifiable anger that their children can't buy houses. It's not just about renting houses; they can't buy houses in the area and in the town.

The economic impact is more difficult, because Newport does depend very heavily on tourism. Obviously, that's a more modern thing, but without the tourists, without the holiday lets and so on, Newport would go through very difficult times and the impact on the community in the wintertime would mean that there are no shops—all of the things and businesses and so on that are linked to that, and work. So, it's a very complex problem in Newport. We have the visual impact as well—the design of any houses that are being built. We have a lot of market houses financing the affordable housing. But those things are going to come up later on, I'm sure. 

09:35

Yes, absolutely, Jano. We will get on to all of that, but thank you for those initial thoughts. Would any witness like to add to that? Jeff.

Diolch, Gadeirydd. Yn Aberystwyth, mae llawer o bobl yn cael problemau yn prynu neu hyd yn oed yn rhentu rhywle. Mae prisiau tai ar gyfartaledd wedi mynd i fyny i ryw naw neu 10 gwaith y cyflog ar gyfartaledd, sydd, wrth gwrs, yn broblem fawr os wyt ti'n ystyried bod darparwyr morgeisi, banciau ac ati, fel arfer ond yn fodlon rhoi hyd at 4.5 gwaith y cyflog. Felly, mae pobl yn cael lot fawr o broblemau yn aros yn lleol. Mae hynny hefyd yn wir ar draws Ceredigion, lle mae prisiau wedi codi 19 y cant rhwng Hydref 2020 a Hydref 2021. Dydy fy nghyflog i ddim wedi cynyddu gymaint â hynny dros yr amser yna, a dwi ddim yn credu bod neb wedi cael codiad cyflog i gyfateb i ba mor gyflym mae prisiau tai yn mynd i fyny.

Wrth sôn am yr iaith Gymraeg, mae'n werth nodi fod nifer o gymunedau yng Ngheredigion wedi bod yn gweld cwymp sylweddol yn y niferoedd sy'n medru'r Gymraeg dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf. Dydy canlyniadau cyfrifiad llynedd ddim allan eto o ran yr iaith Gymraeg, ond rhwng 2001 a 2011, roedd y canran yn Aberystwyth a oedd yn medru'r Gymraeg wedi gostwng 5 pwynt canran, gydag 8 pwynt canran mewn un ward. Mae'n werth i ni nodi bod 5,200 o siaradwyr Cymraeg yn gadael Cymru bob blwyddyn, ac mae un o'r rhesymau am hynny yn economaidd. Dydy hynny ddim hyd yn oed yn sôn am yr all-lifiad o'r ardaloedd mwy Cymraeg i lefydd fel Caerdydd—mae'r 5,200 yma yn rhai sydd, i bob pwrpas, ar goll o ran ystadegau'r miliwn ac i wasanaethau Cymru. 

Os gallwn i ddweud un peth pellach i gychwyn, mae'r maes polisi yma'n berthnasol tu hwnt i feysydd polisi eraill Llywodraeth Cymru. Er enghraifft, mae Llywodraeth Cymru eisiau cael mwy o athrawon yn dysgu drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg, maen nhw eisiau mwy o nyrsys ac ati sy'n medru'r Gymraeg, a dyma rhai o'r bobl sy'n ei chael hi'n anodd iawn i fforddio tŷ mewn ardaloedd lle mae'r Gymraeg yn dal yn gryf—llefydd fel Aberystwyth. Felly, mae hyn yn mynd ar draws nifer o feysydd o fewn y Llywodraeth. 

Thank you, Chair. In Aberystwyth, many people find it difficult buying or even renting somewhere to live. House prices on average have gone up to nine or 10 times the average wage, which is, of course, a major problem if you consider that mortgage providers and banks and so on are only willing to lend up to 4.5 times your wage. So, people do find it very difficult to remain in the local area. That's also true across Ceredigion as a whole, where prices have risen around 19 per cent between October 2020 and October 2021. My wage hasn't increased by that amount over that period, and I don't think anybody has received a pay rise to correspond with how quickly house prices are rising.

Speaking about the Welsh language, it's worth noting that there are a number of communities in Ceredigion that have seen a significant decline in the number of people who are able to speak Welsh over the past few years. Last year's census results aren't out yet in terms of the Welsh language, but between 2001 and 2011 the percentage of people in Aberystwyth who were able to speak Welsh had declined by 5 percentage points, with 8 percentage points in one ward alone. It's worth us noting that 5,200 Welsh speakers leave Wales every year, and the economic reason is one of the reasons for that. That's not to mention the outward migration from the more Welsh-speaking areas to places such as Cardiff. This 5,200 are those who, to all intents and purposes, are missing in terms of reaching this goal of a million Welsh speakers and to fulfil Welsh language services in Wales.

If I may say so, this policy area is very relevant to other policy areas of the Welsh Government. For example, the Welsh Government wants to attract more Welsh speakers to teach through the medium of Welsh, they want more nurses who speak Welsh, and these are some of those people who do find it very difficult to afford a house in areas where the Welsh language is still spoken as a living community language—places such as Aberystwyth. So, this cuts across a number of policy areas within Government. 

Diolch yn fawr, Jeff. Rhys. Rhys, you're muted at the moment. That's it. 

Ydych chi'n fy nghlywed i? Diolch yn fawr. Buaswn i jest yn mynegi'n gryno bod yr effaith yn hynod niweidiol ar gymunedau. Beth rydyn ni'n ei weld ym Morfa Nefyn ydy bod yna ganran o 30 y cant o'r stoc dai yn ail gartrefi, ac mae hynny wedi effeithio'r prisiau'n fawr. Mae'r lle yn hynod ddeniadol i bobl sydd eisiau cael tai haf. Maen nhw'n labelu'r pentref 'yr Abersoch nesaf', sydd efo canran uwch fyth o dai haf. Beth mae o'n ei olygu ydy dydy pobl ifanc ddim yn gallu byw yno o gwbl, a hynny'n bobl ifanc lleol o unrhyw broffesiwn yn cael trafferth byw yno. Achos, os ydych chi'n gwpl ifanc, beth sydd gennych chi hefyd ydy'r gwahaniaeth prisiau rhwng Morfa, os liciwch chi, a chymunedau ychydig mwy mewndirol.

Mae gennych chi, er enghraifft, Morfa Nefyn a phentref Chwilog, sydd rhyw gwta 8 milltir o'i gilydd, ond bod Chwilog yn fwy na milltir o'r môr. O ran prisiau tai, dydy o ddim yn stretsh i ddweud bod yr un math o dai yn mynd am efallai £100,000 yn rhatach yn Chwilog nag ydyn nhw ym Morfa. Pen draw sefyllfa fel hyn ydy bod gennych chi enciliad yn yr ardal lle mae'r bobl yn siarad Cymraeg. Yn y llefydd deniadol i dwristiaid, fydd gennym ni ddim Cymraeg yn cael ei siarad yno o gwbl, ac mi fydd hynny'n drychineb. Dyna rydym ni'n ei weld ar y funud fel patrwm. Mae yna gwymp yn y nifer o blant sy'n mynd i ysgol Morfa. Mae yna ragolygon, o'r hyn dwi'n ei ddeall gan lywodraethwyr yr ysgol, bod yna 10 yn llai o ddisgyblion yn mynd i fod yn y ddwy flynedd nesaf. Wedyn mae hynny yn glec fawr i'r gymuned, wrth gwrs, a'i hyder i symud ymlaen. Fydd hi'n methu â chynnal ei hun.

Ym Morfa, mae gennych chi groestoriad o wahanol fathau o dwristiaeth. Mae gennych chi barciau carafanau—sy'n rhywbeth dwi'n ei ystyried yn dwristiaeth mwy cynaliadwy, mwy buddiol—ac mae gennych chi dai haf ac mae gennych chi lety gwyliau, ac mae'r rheini'n amddifadu pobl o dai. Beth sydd gennym ni ddim yng Nghymru ydy rhywbeth sy'n adnabod beth ydy twristiaeth sydd yn rhoi mwy o fudd na ddim byd arall, a pha dwristiaeth sydd yn fwy niweidiol o ran ei sgôp. Mae'n bechod, rywsut, nad oes yna ddim byd yn gwneud hynny'n glir ar y funud.

Can you hear me now? Thank you. I'll just say that the impact is very damaging on communities. What we see here in Morfa Nefyn is that there's a percentage of 30 per cent of the housing stock that are now second homes, and that's had a huge impact on house prices. It's a very attractive place for those who want summer properties. The village is called 'the next Abersoch', which has a higher percentage still of second homes. What it means is that young people can't live there at all, and they're local young people, of any profession—they find it difficult to live in that area. If you're a young couple, what you also have is the difference in prices between those coastal areas and more inland areas.

For example, you have Nefyn and Chwilog, which are about 8 miles apart, although Chwilog is more than a mile away from the sea. It's not a stretch to say that the same houses are £100,000 cheaper in Chwilog. The result of this is that you have a retreat in the area where people speak Welsh. In those tourists areas, you won't have the Welsh language being spoken, and that would be a disaster. That's what we see at the moment as a pattern. There's been a decline in the number of children going to the school in Morfa. There have been forecasts undertaken by school governors that show that there's going to be 10 fewer pupils over the next few years. That's a huge hit to the community and the confidence it has in sustaining itself.

In Morfa you have a cross section of different kinds of tourism. You have caravan parks—which I consider to be tourism ventures that are more sustainable, perhaps, and more beneficial—and you have summer homes and you also have holiday homes, and that means that people are excluded from the housing market in that area. What we don't have in Wales is something that identifies the more beneficial kinds of tourism and those kinds of tourism that are more damaging. It's a shame that we haven't got that clarity at the moment.

09:40

Diolch yn fawr, Gadeirydd. Fy adwaith cyntaf i i'r cwestiwn ydy bod yr ateb yn hollol amlwg. Yn fy nhref enedigol i, Dolgellau, mae yna strydoedd cyfan bron bellach yn mynd yn dai haf, tai llety tymor byr, sydd, wrth gwrs, yn trawsnewid holl natur cymdeithas ein cymunedau ni. Mae'n gwagio ein pentrefi a'n trefi ni. Ac, wrth gwrs, mae hynny'n cael effaith pellgyrhaeddol ar natur y gymdeithas. Gan ein bod ni'n ardal lle mae'r Gymraeg yn bennaf iaith, yna mae o'n naturiol yn cael effaith ar y Gymraeg, fel mae eraill wedi cyfeirio ato fo. Mae'n arwyddocaol, a dweud y gwir: os edrychwch chi ar ganrannau siaradwyr Cymraeg yng Ngwynedd, er enghraifft, yn y mannau hynny lle mai twristiaeth ydy'r prif ddiwydiant, sef ein hardaloedd arfordirol ni, mae'r Gymraeg ar ei gwanaf, a dwi'n meddwl bod hynny yn dystiolaeth go gadarn fod yna niwed sylweddol yn cael ei wneud i'r Gymraeg a'n diwylliant ni wrth inni ganiatáu i'r farchnad yma fynd rhagddo heb unrhyw fath o reolaeth.

Wrth gwrs, fel mae eraill eto wedi cyfeirio ato fo, mae prynu tŷ bach twt mewn tref hardd, wledig yng Nghymru yn fuddsoddiad arbennig o dda, pan ydych chi'n cael, dwi ddim yn gwybod—. Dwedwn ni y cewch chi £600 y mis o rent i'w osod ar dymor hir. Wel, fe gewch chi £600 o leiaf yr wythnos allan o'i osod o fel tŷ haf. Felly, fe allwch chi weld bod hwn yn fuddsoddiad arbennig o dda. Buaswn i'n licio i rywun wneud rhyw fath o ymchwil i beth ydy'r canran ddychweliad ar brynu tŷ yn yr ardaloedd hyn. Ac, wrth gwrs, mae o'n tynnu canran sylweddol iawn allan o'r stoc dai sydd ar gael i bobl leol, ac mae hynny'n wir yn cael effaith pellgyrhaeddol hefyd. Dyna fuaswn i'n dweud ydy'r ateb i'r cwestiwn yna.

Thank you very much, Chair. My first reaction to the question is that the answer is entirely clear. In the town where I grew up, Dolgellau, there are entire streets almost that are now summer homes or short-term holiday lets, which, of course, transforms the nature of the society and our communities. It empties out our villages and towns. And, of course, that does have a far-reaching impact on the nature of the society. Because we are an area where the Welsh language is the primary language, then it naturally has an impact on the Welsh language, as others have referred to. It's significant: if you look at the percentages of Welsh speakers in Gwynedd, for example, the areas where tourism is the primary industry, so those coastal areas, are where the Welsh language at its weakest. I think that is relatively robust evidence that there is significant damage being done to the Welsh language and our culture as we allow this market to develop without any kind of controls on it.

As others have mentioned, buying a small house in a beautiful town in rural Wales is an excellent investment, when you get, I don't know—. Let's say you have £600 a month rent for a long-term let, where you'll get £600, at least, a week if you let it as a summer home. So, you can see that this is an excellent investment. I would like someone to undertake some sort of research into what the percentage return is on buying a property in these areas. And, of course, it takes away a significant percentage of the housing stock out of the stock for local people, and that has a truly far-reaching impact. So, that's what I would say in response to that question.

09:45

Diolch yn fawr. Thank you all very much. A further question from me, then, in terms of the Welsh Government's response to these issues generally and in terms of the pilot area in Dwyfor. What thoughts do you have on that response, whether it's the pace, the scale of what's proposed, or anything generally? What do you think? Is it what's needed, or should Welsh Government—? Dyfrig.

Dof i i mewn gan ein bod ni yn cydweithio gyda Llywodraeth Cymru ar y cynllun peilot yn Nwyfor. Gaf i ddweud yn y lle cyntaf fod y camau mae'r Llywodraeth wedi'u cymryd yn wir yn hanesyddol? Dyma'r tro cyntaf i Lywodraeth wneud unrhyw fath o ymdrech i ymyrryd yn y farchnad tai haf ac ail gartrefi, ac felly mae hwnna i'w gydnabod yn y lle cyntaf. O ran y peilot, buaswn i'n ei ddisgrifio fo fel rhyw blentyn bach yn cropian ar hyn o bryd. Rydyn ni wedi cael rhyw bedwar neu bump o gyfarfodydd ymysg swyddogion. Dwi ddim yn rhan o'r cyfarfodydd hynny. Dwi'n credu bod yna chwilio, os mynnwch chi, am y ffordd ymlaen. Mae Cyngor Gwynedd yn barod iawn i roi cymaint o arweiniad ag y gallwn ni, ond dwi'n credu bod yna le i Lywodraeth Cymru finiogi ei syniadau ynglŷn â beth sydd yn y peilot.

O ran y pethau sydd yn y peilot, buaswn i'n eu disgrifio nhw fel ymyraethau cymharol feddal. Rydyn ni wedi cael yn gymharol ddiweddar rhestr o gwmpas a chynnwys y rhaglen beilot. Maen nhw'n weithredoedd sydd yn ychwanegu at y gwaith mae'r cyngor yn ei wneud yn barod, ac mae hynny'n sicr i'w groesawu, ac rydyn ni'n falch iawn o unrhyw gefnogaeth ychwanegol i geisio atebion i'r broblem. Mae yna sôn am benodi rheolwr y rhaglen beilot; mae angen gwneud hynny ar fyrder, ac mi fyddai hynny yn help mawr yn fy marn i i symud pethau ymlaen. Felly, elfen o rwystredigaeth, ond dwi yn deall bod hwn yn faes cymhleth, ac mae angen gwneud y gwaith yma yn drylwyr. Ond, y neges sydd yn mynd nôl gennyf i i'r Llywodraeth, mae'n debyg, ydy bod angen tipyn bach mwy o frys, tipyn bach mwy o finiogi, mwy o syniadau i'w cynnwys yn y cynllun peilot.

I'll come in there, because we are collaborating with the Welsh Government on this pilot scheme in Dwyfor. May I say in the first instance that the steps that Government has taken are historic ones? This is the first time that a Government has made any kind of effort to intervene in the summer home and second home market, and that is to be acknowledged in the first instance. The pilot scheme I would describe as a young child learning to crawl at the moment. We have had some four or five meetings amongst officials. I'm not part of those particular meetings. I think that they are seeking a way forward, and Gwynedd Council is very willing to give as much guidance as we can, but I think there is scope for the Welsh Government to refine its ideas in terms of what is included in the pilot programme.

The things in the pilot I would describe as relatively soft interventions. We've had relatively recently a list of the scope of the pilot programme. They are actions that add to the work that the council is already doing, and that's certainly to be welcomed, and we are very pleased to receive any additional support to seek solutions to the problem. There is mention made of appointing a pilot programme manager; well, that, of course, needs to be done as a matter of urgency, and that would be a major help in my view in terms of moving things forward. So, there is an element of frustration, but I do understand that this is a complex area and we need to do this work thoroughly. But the message that I would take back to the Government is that we need a bit more urgency, a bit more refinement of the ideas, and more ideas of what to include in the pilot programme.

Diolch, Gadeirydd. I raddau, hoffwn i atseinio beth mae Dyfrig wedi'i ddweud, bod yna rywfaint o rwystredigaeth, ac mae eisiau mwy o frys. Ond, mae yn wych bod y Llywodraeth am gymryd camau tuag at hyn. Rydyn ni'n falch iawn o hynny. Mae cynghorau wedi bod yn galw am hyn, ac rydyn ni'n falch bod rhywbeth ar fin cael ei wneud. Mae'n rhaid dweud dwi yn pryderu am y mecanwaith o fewn y mesur am y newid defnydd, lle mae angen profi'r broblem ar lefel meicro yn yr ymchwil, ac wedyn defnyddio erthygl 4 i ddod i'r pwynt lle mae cyngor sir yn gallu gwrthod ceisiadau ar gyfer newid defnydd o C3 i C5 neu C6. Mae hyn yn edrych fel cryn dipyn o waith, ac mae'n edrych fel rhywbeth fydd yn cymryd amser. Yn fwy na dim, mae'n edrych fel enghraifft lle mae angen i rywbeth gyrraedd penllanw o broblem cyn bod modd gwneud rhywbeth amdano fe. Er ein bod ni'n cefnogi'n llwyr greu'r dosbarthiadau newydd o ddefnydd, ac ati, byddai'n braf, o ran y gweithredu, i weld rhywbeth mwy rhagweithiol, lle mae cynghorau o leiaf yn gallu gwneud penderfyniad yn sirol eu bod nhw am reoli marchnad ail gartrefi yn eu hardaloedd ac ystyried pob cais i symud o C3 i C5 i C6 fel cais cynllunio, os mai dyna a ddymunant. Rwy'n credu y dylai'r pwer yna fod gyda'r cynghorau sir yn hytrach na'u bod yn gorfod mynd trwy'r hŵps yma ar lefelau meicro iawn. Felly, dyna gwpwl o fy mhryderon am sut mae'r peth wedi cael ei osod allan. Ond, i orffen ar nodyn positif, rydyn ni'n hynod o falch bod Llywodraeth Cymru yn gwneud rhywbeth am y peth. 

Thank you, Chair. To some extent I echo what Dyfrig said, that there is an element of frustration, and we do need to take more swift action. But it is excellent that the Government does want to take steps in this direction. We're very pleased about that. Councils have been calling for these steps to be taken, and we're pleased that something is about to be done. I have to say that I am concerned about the measures in terms of change of use, where you need to prove the problem at a micro level in the research, and then use article 4 to come to the point where a county council can refuse applications for change of use from C3 to C5 or C6. This requires a great deal of work, and it looks like something that will take a great deal of time. But, more than anything else, it looks like something that needs to reach a peak in terms of being a problem before anything can be done about it. So, whilst we support entirely the creation of these new use classes, it would be good within the action to see something more proactive where councils can at least make a decision on a county level that they want to control and manage the second homes market in their areas and consider each application to move from C3 to C5 to C6 as part of a planning application, if they so wish. I think that that power should lie with county councils rather than their having to jump through these hoops on very micro levels. So, these are some of my concerns about how this issue has been set out. But, to conclude on a positive note, we are very pleased that the Welsh Government is doing something about this. 

09:50

Buaswn i'n licio ategu fy mod i wedi fy nghalonogi'n fawr efo'r hyn sy'n cael ei gynnig yn yr ymgynghoriadau. Mae yna ystod eang o bethau'n cael eu cynnig sydd, yn fy marn i, yn mynd i wneud gwahaniaeth gwirioneddol i'n cymunedau ni petaen nhw'n cael eu gweithredu. Dwi yn teimlo rhywsut yn rhwystredig oherwydd cyflymdra'r broses. Dwi'n deall bod ymgynghoriad yn cymryd amser, ond buaswn i wedi licio eu gweld nhw'n comisiynu hynny'n gynt, wrth gwrs. 

O ran y peilot, dwi'n cytuno'n fawr efo beth roedd Dyfrig wedi crybwyll yn gynt. Mae gen i'r un pryder y bydd peilot yn cynnig atebion meddal yn hytrach na gweithredu'r hyn sy'n cael ei gynnig yn yr ymgyngoriadau eu hunain. Mewn ffordd, pam ydyn ni eisiau peilot yn y lle cyntaf? Wel, beth oedd yn dod i fy mhen i oedd mai'r rheswm i gael peilot fuasai i dreialu pethau sy'n gwneud gwahaniaeth gwirioneddol i gymunedau a'u cadw nhw'n fyw, mewn ffordd. A dyna pam roeddwn i'n meddwl bod Dwyfor wedi cael ei bigo. Yn Nwyfor, mae pobl yn gallu dadlau bod y broblem tai haf efallai ar ei dwysaf. Yn ystadegol, mae gennych chi Gwynedd, sydd â'r nifer uchaf o dai haf, ac yn Nwyfor—dwi ddim yn hollol sicr o'r ffigwr, ond fe wnes i drio gwneud y syms—y mae rhyw 40 y cant o'r tai haf drwy Wynedd gyfan. Felly, o fewn tua threian o'r ardal, mae yna ddwysedd uchel o dai haf, efallai mwy nag unrhyw le arall yng Nghymru, o bosib fedrwch chi ddadlau hynny. A hefyd mae yna ganran uchel o siaradwyr Cymraeg.

Felly, dylai'r peilot fod yn gyfle i dreialu mesurau sy'n gwneud gwahaniaeth go iawn, fel sy'n cael eu cynnig yn yr ymgynghoriadau. A dyna dwi'n gobeithio, yn hytrach na chamau meddal o roi arian. A dydy'r arian sydd wedi ei glustnodi hyd yma ddim hanner digon i allu cynnal peilot a gwneud gwahaniaeth o ddifrif, yn fy marn i. Rhyw £1 filiwn sydd wedi ei chlustnodi i Ddwyfor ei hun, dwi ar ddeall, a dylai hynny fod lawer yn fwy i allu gwneud gwahaniaeth drwy wahanol brosiectau. Ond yn hytrach na jest roi buddsoddiad, dylai bod cyfyngiadau ym maes cynllunio, fel sydd wedi ei grybwyll mewn ymgynghoriadau, yn cael eu rhoi mewn lle yn ogystal. 

I'd like to echo that I've been very much encouraged by what has been put forward in the consultations. There is a wide range of proposals, which, in my view, are going to have a genuine impact on our communities if they were to be implemented. I feel slightly frustrated about the speed of the process. I understand that consultation takes some time, but I would have liked for them to have commissioned that sooner. 

In terms of the pilot, I firmly agree with what Dyfrig mentioned earlier. I'm concerned that a pilot will put forward those soft solutions, rather than implementing what has been put forward in the consultation itself. Why do we need a pilot in the first instance? Well, for me, the reason to have a pilot would be to trial those things that would have a genuine impact and make a genuine difference in communities to keep them alive. In Dwyfor, for example, people could argue that the second homes issue is at its most intense. Gwynedd has the highest percentage of second homes, and Dwyfor—I'm not entirely sure of the figure, but I tried to do the sums—has around 40 per cent of the second homes throughout Gwynedd. So, even though it's a third of the area, there is a higher density there in terms of second homes, as compared to other places in Wales, it could be argued. and there's a high percentage of Welsh speakers there.

So, the pilot should be an opportunity to trial measures that will make a real difference, as proposed in the different consultations. And that's what I hope will happen, rather than the soft steps of allocating funding. And the funding that has been allocated so far isn't anywhere near enough to conduct a pilot and make a genuine difference, in my view. Around £1 million has been earmarked for Dwyfor, as I understand it, and much more is needed to make a difference through different projects. But, rather than just making investment, planning restrictions should be put in place, as raised in consultations.

I think it's very appropriate to have a pilot study, and I think that's a good idea. I also think that every community has its own individual problems. And I think, for me personally, one thing that isn't being addressed is the power of developers, because, in Newport, a piece of land will be going for a huge amount of money. The developers have to make a profit, so they are following the planning regulations and building enough houses to make their profit and squashing the affordable houses into the corner. And the other thing is also the issue that, if we address only the second homes and only the holiday lets, in Newport that would have a big impact because that is our business, that's how we survive. And I would be very concerned about any unintended consequences from that. So, I would like to see more emphasis on enabling a community, giving more power to the town councils. We are in the national parks. The national parks are our planning authority. We feel very powerless in the face of planning decisions that are made in the national parks, and I think that what we need to be doing is addressing the problem of enabling communities to be able to buy the land, to build the houses they need for the local people, the young people, and also not just to let but to buy. We have young people in Newport who have good incomes who can't afford to buy in Newport because the prices are exorbitant. They've gone up from—. A house, say, of £68,000 20 years ago is now £700,000. It's ridiculous.

So, I think that there's too much emphasis on putting pressure on keeping the number of second-home holiday lets down, which is great and I think we should have a limit, but that doesn't bring down the prices. Unless you're really draconian, you're not going to bring down the prices of the land. You're not going to address the needs for building the right houses for the young people who need homes, because the affordable houses that we have had built in Newport are on—. There's one particular building development that has a whole raft of big, executive houses that are not in the vernacular of Newport, not on the kind of streets that we have historically in Newport, and in the corner, separated off, we have a little block of small, affordable houses for rent. Now, they're open for rent for the local community for a number of years, but then if they're not taken up, they go to people from outside the community, which I can completely understand, but we need to get to the core of the problem that we, in Newport, need to be able to build houses for old people who need single-storey dwellings, for young people who've got families, for young couples, smaller units.

There's got to be a two-pronged attack to this, because, otherwise in Newport, we restrict the number of second homes, we restrict holiday homes, or we reduce them or whatever. That will affect the economy of Newport, and it won't stop the young people leaving, because they have nowhere that they want to live. Houses with gardens; we don't build affordable houses with gardens because the land price is at a premium, and the developers want profit. And I have to say that the developers have the power in this, and they push and they push and they push until they can get bigger houses, more houses. They take away the smaller houses that were a kind of treat for the planners. The local town council feels powerless. The pressure from the developers is huge, and I think we need to take the land out of the hands of that profit motive. We need to be able to empower communities to buy the land to build the houses they need, and no market houses. Don't finance with market houses, as we do in our planning authority. We finance the affordable houses by getting developers to build market houses, so they're in there for the big bucks. We're talking about a field in Newport costing £1.5 million. Now, no-one can buy that. And the other thing we have is sites within Newport. If there's a house on a site in Newport with enough land, somebody will buy the house, then they will apply for planning permission for market houses, and we can do nothing. And I think the thing that's making people so angry in Newport is that we feel powerless in the face of the planners, the developers and the profits that can be made here. We need to actually start addressing how we can build houses to buy, maybe with restrictions on them, houses to rent, because the people who are moving out are not poor people; they're people on good wages, and they're the people who could bring business to Newport to turn it around so that we can move away from tourism. But it's not possible at the moment. Thank you.

09:55

Thank you very much, Jano. I think Dyfrig wanted to come back in. Dyfrig. 

Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. Roeddwn i jest eisiau dod nôl at y cynllun peilot. Un rhan o'r cynllun peilot ydy prosiect cofrestru neu drwyddedu llety gosod tymor byr, ond yn wirfoddol felly. Rŵan, fy hun, dwi ddim o'r farn y bydd hynny'n llwyddiannus. Dwi yn wirioneddol credu, fel rhan o'r atebion, mai trefn cofrestru statudol gorfodol sydd ei hangen ac nid un gwirfoddol. Mae hwnna'n un pwysig, dwi'n meddwl, yn bwysig iawn, achos dwi'n meddwl mai dyna'r arf cryfaf sydd gennym ni i gael rheolaeth.

Ac ar bwynt yr ymgynghoriad ar newidiadau i'r ddeddfwriaeth gynllunio, dwi'n ystyried hwnnw'n ehangach na'r cynllun peilot, a dweud y gwir, achos, os gweithredu fo, mi allwn ni ei weithredu fo yn rhywle ar draws y sir drwy newidiadau i erthygl 4. Dwi ddim yn siŵr y dylem ni gyfyngu hwnnw i'r cynllun peilot, a dweud y gwir. Dwi'n meddwl y byddai'n bosib ei weithredu fo lle bynnag y bo.

Felly, jest y pwyntiau yna, a dwi eisiau pwysleisio'r ffaith bod y drefn gofrestru a thrwyddedu ochr yn ochr â newidiadau i'r ddeddfwriaeth cynllunio, newidiadau i'r drefn trethiant, a dwi'n siŵr y cawn ni gwestiwn am hwnna yn y munud. Dwi'n credu bod y drefn cofrestru yna, neu drwyddedu, yn arf pwysig iawn i gynghorau lleol i fedru gweithredu. Diolch.

Thank you very much, Chair. I just wanted to come back to the pilot programme. One part of the pilot is the registration or licensing project for short-term holiday lets, but that's on a voluntary basis. I'm not of the opinion that that will be successful, personally. I genuinely believe that, as part of the solution, a statutory compulsory registration regime is what is needed and not a voluntary one. That's an important point to make, I think, and actually it's very important, because I think that's the most powerful tool that we have in order to control this issue.

And on the consultation on changes to planning legislation, I consider that to be a wider aspect than the pilot programme, truth be told, because, if it is implemented, it could be implemented anywhere across the county through changes to article 4. I'm not sure whether we should limit that to the pilot programme, truth be told. I think it would be possible to implement it wherever that may be.

So, just those points, and I want to emphasise the fact that the registration and licensing regime sit alongside changes to planning legislation, and changes to the taxation regime, and I'm sure we'll have a question on that in a moment. I think that the registration process, or licensing, is a very important tool that will enable local authorities to act. Thank you.

10:00

Jest i ategu pwynt bach at beth roedd Dyfrig wedi dweud, mewn ffordd, i ddweud fy mod i o'r un farn, mae'n rhaid i ni gael system o gofrestru gorfodol. Mae gennym ni hynny efo ein tai landlord-tenant. Mae gennym ni gorff Rent Smart Wales, sydd bellach yn goruchwylio'r maes yna i wneud yn siŵr bod pob landlord wedi cofrestru, neu fe fyddan nhw'n mynd i anawsterau. Yr un fath rydyn ni eisiau efo llety gwyliau—bod rhaid cael trwydded i redeg llety gwyliau. Ac wrth gael rhyw gorff tebyg i Rent Smart Wales i weinyddu hynny ac i drwyddedu, mi fyddai hynny'n tynnu baich oddi wrth awdurdodau lleol wedyn. Yn hytrach na bod awdurdodau lleol yn gorfod dadansoddi, 'Ydy hwn yn llety gwyliau ai peidio?', beth maen nhw'n gwneud wedyn ydy gofyn, 'Oes gennych chi drwydded?'—gan y corff newydd, felly. Buaswn i'n licio bod yna gorff 'llety hunanarlwyo Cymru' neu rywbeth felly, a fyddai'n eu rheoleiddio nhw, a'u bod nhw'n trwyddedu. Os nad oes gyda chi drwydded, yna rydych chi'n talu'r dreth cyngor yn llawn. Ar y funud, mae yna eithriad, a dydy hynny ddim yn deg ynddo'i hun. Dylai fod yna system drwyddedu sydd yn lleihau'r baich gweinyddol ar y cyngor sir.

Just to add a brief point to what Dyfrig said, where I am of the same view, we do need to have a system of compulsory registration. We have that with our landlord-tenant housing. We have Rent Smart Wales, which oversees this particular field to ensure that every landlord is registered, or otherwise they get into difficulties. We want the same process for holiday accommodation, which is that you need a licence to run holiday accommodation. And if we had a body such as Rent Smart Wales to administer that and to license, that would remove the burden from local authorities. Rather than local authorities having to analyse, 'Is this holiday accommodation or not?', what they would do then is ask, 'Do you have a licence?'—from that new body. I would like there to be a 'self-catering accommodation Wales' body, for example, which would undertake the regulation and licensing. So, if your property isn't licensed, you would pay full council tax. At the moment, there is an exemption, and that's not fair in itself. There should be a licensing system that would lighten the burden on local authorities.

Okay, Rhys, thank you very much. Okay, we'll move on to other committee members. Firstly, Mabon ap Gwynfor. Mabon.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Gadeirydd, a diolch yn fawr iawn i chi i gyd am fynychu bore yma a rhoi eich amser chi fel pobl sy'n rhoi tystiolaeth i'r pwyllgor. Rwyf jest, i gychwyn, eisiau mynd ar ôl y diffiniad o ail dai. Rydych chi wedi cyfeirio yn eich tystiolaeth chi at ail dai, at dai gwyliau, a thai gwyliau llety tymor byr. Ydych chi'n credu bod y diffiniad o beth ydy ail dai neu lety gwyliau tymor byr yn ddigon clir, a sut fuasech chi'n diffinio ac yn gwahaniaethu rhwng y gwahanol elfennau yma o ail dai, gan gynnwys yr elfen newydd sydd wedi dod mewn yn lled ddiweddar, sef Airbnb?

Thank you very much, Chair, and thank you very much to all of you for attending this morning and giving your time as witnesses to committee. To begin with, I just want to pursue the definition of second homes. You've referred in your evidence to second homes, to holiday homes, and to short-term holiday lets. Do you believe that the definition of what is a second home or short-term holiday let is sufficiently clear, and how would you define and differentiate between these different types of second homes, including this new element in terms of Airbnb?

Ie. Mae'n bwysig cael diffiniad. Hynny ydy, os oes gennym ni drefn cynllunio lle rydyn ni'n gorfod gwneud cais cynllunio i newid o un categori i'r llall, yna mae'n rhaid cael diffiniad clir iawn o beth yw ail gartref ac yn y blaen. Dydy o ddim mor rhwydd â hynny. Dyna pam, hwyrach, y gallai fod angen i ni gael y drafodaeth yna, yn arbennig yn y maes cynllunio. Mae yna sawl categori, onid oes? Mae yna ail gartref sydd ddim yn cael ei osod, mae'n bosib. Mae yna gartrefi sy'n cael eu gosod tymor byr heb unrhyw fath o reolaeth, trwy Airbnb, ac mae'r cynnydd yn y rheini'n rhyfeddol a dweud y gwir. Ac, wrth gwrs, mae yna lety gwyliau sydd wedi cael caniatâd, er enghraifft, i drosi beudai, neu rywbeth felly, i fod yn llety gwyliau, ac mae yna gyfyngiadau cynllunio arnyn nhw beth bynnag. Rŵan, dwi'n credu bod y llety gwyliau yn glir allan o'r drefn; maen nhw'n rhan o'r drefn gynllunio, ac maen nhw'n rhan o'r—. Ond dydyn nhw ddim, yn fy marn i, yn tynnu allan o'r stoc dai. 

Yr un anodd ydy, wrth gwrs, os ydych chi'n diffinio prif gartref fel, dywedwn ni, fod rhaid i rywun fyw yna am nifer o ddyddiau'r flwyddyn neu—ie, nifer o ddyddiau fuasai'r mesur mae'n debyg—mae hi'n anodd plismona hynny, onid ydy? Mae'n anodd iawn i unrhyw awdurdod cynllunio gael tystiolaeth o'r union faint o ddyddiau mewn blwyddyn mae'n cael ei ddefnyddio neu ddim.

Felly, mae o'n faes pwysig, a dwi'n credu bod y drafodaeth yna'n parhau. A dwi'n meddwl ein bod ni—. Ond mae'n rhaid inni gael y diffiniad yna. Dwi'n credu fy mod i wedi gweld yn rhywle lle mae'r diffiniad o brif gartref ydy lle mae rhywun, un person, yn byw ynddo fo yn barhaol, felly. Mi allai hynny fod trwy'r flwyddyn, yn hytrach na bod rhywun yn cael dau eiddo, un i ffwrdd, ac yn dewis pa un sydd yn brif gartref, er mwyn osgoi trethiant ac yn y blaen. Wel, gadewch inni fod yn glir, mae'n rhaid i chi fyw yna drwy'r flwyddyn. Ond mae hwnna'n fater i'w drafod, dwi'n credu. 

Yes. It is important to have a definition. That is, if you have a planning regime where you have to make a planning application to change from one category to another, then you have to have a very clear definition of what a second home is, and so on. It isn't as easy as that. That's why, perhaps, we need to have this discussion and debate, particularly with regard to planning. There are several categories, aren't there? There is a second home that isn't let as holiday accommodation. There are homes that are let as short-term lets without any kind of regulation, through Airbnb, for example, and the growth in that direction has been extraordinary, truth be told. And, of course, there are holiday homes that have had permission, for example, to turn outbuildings into homes to be holiday accommodation, and there are planning restrictions on them and so on. And I believe that holiday accommodation is clear; it's part of the planning regime, but in my opinion, they don't detract from the housing stock. 

The difficult one, of course, is if you define a primary residence as, well, let's say, somebody has to live there for a number of days in a year—yes, the number of days would be the measure, I would think—it's difficult to police that, isn't it? It's very difficult for any planning authority to gather evidence of how many days in a year a property is used or not.

So, it is an important area to consider, and I think that that discussion is ongoing. But we do have to have that clear definition, I believe. I believe I've seen a definition of a primary residence as where one person lives continually. And that could be year-round, rather than somebody having two properties, and that they then select which one is their primary residence for taxation purposes and so on. Let's be clear, you have to live there all year long. That could be a definition, but that's something to discuss. 

10:05

O ran y diffiniadau, mae'n hollbwysig i'w rhoi nhw. Ar y funud, dydy o ddim yn glir beth ydy'r gwahaniaeth rhyngddynt. Mae gennych chi ryw fath o ddiffiniad yn yr ystyr drethiannol, ond ddim o ran dosbarth defnydd clir. Mae'r hyn sy'n cael ei gynnig gan yr ymgynghoriadau yn gynigion go lew o ran eu diffinio nhw, a dwi yn cytuno efo'r rheini, gan eithrio'r ffaith nad ydyn nhw'n mynd yn ddigon pell i roi meini prawf uwch ar gyfer prif gartref. Fel roedd Dyfrig wedi sôn, a dweud y gwir, dylai fod o'n fwy, bod prif gartref yn cael ei ddiffinio fel rhywbeth dŷch chi'n byw ynddo fo yn llawn amser, a rhywsut, bod y diffiniad yna wedyn yn ei gwneud hi'n haws i gynghorau sir allu dadansoddi beth sydd yn brif annedd a beth sy'n dŷ haf. Mae hynny'n hanfodol. Mae diffinio, wrth gwrs, yn gam angenrheidiol er mwyn rheoleiddio ail dai, achos dyna ydy'r pen draw buaswn i'n licio'i weld, ein bod ni'n rheoleiddio a gallu gosod trothwyon arnyn nhw. 

Roeddwn i wedi colli'r cyfle y tro diwethaf i sôn am sut dwi'n teimlo ynglŷn â phobl yn lleisio mai tai fforddiadwy ydy'r ateb. Yr hyn sydd gen i—. Fy marn ynglŷn â hynny ydy: fedrwn ni fyth adeiladu'n hunain allan o'r argyfwng tai yma. Mae tai fforddiadwy rywsut—. Os ydych chi eisiau adeiladu llwyth mewn cymunedau gwledig, buasai fo'n newid naws y cymunedau hynny. Buasai yna ormodedd o dai mewn pentref sydd erioed wedi gweld y math yna o rai o'r blaen. Yn Llŷn, mae gennym ni ardal o harddwch naturiol eithriadol eang, a phentrefi bychan eu naws, ac wedi bod felly ers blynyddoedd. Wel, buasai o ddim yn gwneud synnwyr i adeiladu llwyth a llwyth o dai. Beth sy'n rhaid digwydd ydy bod yn rhaid rheoleiddio. Ac, ie, fedrwn ni fyth—. Mae yna gynlluniau self-build mewn adeiladu mwy; gwnaiff o ddim digwydd yn ddigon sydyn i fod yn ateb i'r argyfwng yma a diwallu angen lleol. A dyna'r broblem dŷn ni'n wynebu. Mae'n rhaid rheoleiddio. Dim codi llwyth o dai ydy'r ateb, yn sicr mewn ardaloedd gwledig. Ac os ydyn ni'n codi mwy mewn ardaloedd trefol o fewn y siroedd gwledig hynny, yna mae peryg wedyn fod pobl yn 'drain-io' allan o'r cymunedau gwledig i'r trefi, ac mae honno'n broblem ynddi'i hun. 

Felly, mae rheoleiddio'n bwysig, ac mae diffinio'r categorïau yn fan cychwyn ar gyfer gwneud hynny, ac yn bwynt angenrheidiol. 

In terms of the definitions, it is vital to set them out, because it isn't clear at the moment what the difference is between them. You have some kind of definition in terms of taxation, but not in terms of clear use classes. What has been proposed in the consultations is satisfactory in terms of the clarity that they provide, but I agree that they don't go far enough in terms of setting out the criteria for a second home. As Dyfrig said, a primary residence should be defined as somewhere that you live full time, and that definition then would make it easier for county councils to be able to decide what counts as a primary residence and what counts as a holiday residence. That's vital. Definition is a vital step in order to regulate second homes, because that is the outcome that I would like to see—regulation and some sort of threshold being set on the numbers of them. 

I lost the opportunity last time to talk about how I feel about mention being made of affordable housing. My opinion on that is that we can't build ourselves out of the housing crisis. Affordable homes—. If you want to build affordable homes in a rural area, they would change the character of those communities, having too many homes in a village where there haven't been that many before. In Llŷn, for example, we have an area of exceptional natural beauty and very small villages, and it's been like that for years, and it wouldn't make sense to build a host of new affordable homes there. What needs to happen is that they have to regulate and control the number of houses. There are plans such as self-build in building more homes; it won't happen quickly enough to be a solution to this crisis to meet local need. And that's the problem that we're facing. We need to regulate. It's not about building a whole host of new homes, especially in rural areas. And if we build more homes in urban areas within those rural areas, then there is a danger that people will leave those rural villages for the towns, and that's a problem in itself. 

So, regulation is important, and defining the categories is a starting point in that direction, and it's a vital point to make. 

Diolch yn fawr iawn am eich atebion chi yn fanna. O ran ystyried y diffiniadau yna a'r gwahanol fathau o ail dai, ddaru Jano yn Nhrefdraeth ynghynt sôn am werth economaidd, o ran twristiaeth, ail dai. Oes yna werth gwahanol economaidd i'r gwahanol fathau o ail dai i'n cymunedau ni, i economi wledig? Felly, ail dŷ yn yr ystyr bod rhywun yn ei berchen o ond dim ond yn mynd ar ei wyliau, hwyrach, am rai penwythnosau'r flwyddyn fel un math o ail dŷ; llety gwyliau tymor byr yn fath arall; llety sydd heb ei reoleiddio; llety sydd wedi cael ei drosi—beudy wedi cael ei drosi gan fferm leol ac yn blaen. Y gwahanol fathau yna—oes yna werth economaidd gwahanol iddyn nhw, ac ydych chi'n cefnogi rhai ar draul rhai eraill?

Thank you very much for your responses. In terms of considering those different definitions and the different kinds of second homes, Jano in Newport talked about the economic value, in terms of tourism, of second homes. Is there a different kind of economic value to different kinds of second homes in our communities and rural economy? So, a second home in the sense that somebody owns it but only goes on their holiday for a few weekends in a year, that's one kind of second home; short-term holiday accommodation is a different kind; unregulated accommodation; a barn that's been converted on a local farm. Those different kinds—do they have different kinds of economic worth, and do you support some at the expense of others?

10:10

Yes, of course. If you have a—. I think this whole definition of second homes things is problematic. I think there are—. In terms of avoidance of the tax, I think it's important that we do this. But, yes, in answer to that, there is a difference. People who have a lovely second home and just use it for their family are obviously not going to be bringing in so much money to the economy as people who have holiday lets, because there's a constant turnover. Newport becomes alive, I could say, packed, in the summer, but that's what keeps our businesses going. So, they do have a huge benefit. Obviously, I think there is a tipping point. I think we might have reached the tipping point in Newport; we have, possibly, 50 per cent. But there are hidden second homes: people, couples, who have registered a home in London, and the other partner has registered the home in Wales—that kind of second home.

But in the winter, there are streets that are completely dark because nobody is there. The economic effect in the winter—. The only way we can get through the winter, that businesses can get through the winter, is knowing that that income is coming in in the summer. We restrict second home usage and blame second home usage at our peril in Newport. I don't know about other communities. And that is why I say each community has to be looked at, and the councils have to be involved in communication, with the planners and with any decisions that are made, which tailor it to their needs. Because our needs may be different from other places' needs.

So, the answer is, yes, they are our lifeblood. The businesses are very—. Some of the business people I've talked to are very concerned that the report and all of the attention at the moment is on second homes being the problem. Yes, they are a problem, they have caused the rise in the prices of houses. We have a lot of people—. A very large proportion of our population is elderly—they haven't got second homes, they come down here to retire. They might buy a second home and retire here. That in itself may be a larger problem, in terms of the language and the culture of Newport. So, the definition of second homes is tricky.

And there's one other point. There are people in Newport who've had a house in their family for generations—Welsh speaking, people for whatever reason have moved away, and they are being charged the second home tax, and they are very angry about it, because it's their family home. If they can't afford to do that, they're going to sell their family home, and it's going to become a second home. So, I would like some attention paid to that—I don't know whether it's possible or not. But they fall under the definition of second home owners, but they are local people.

So, the definition of second homes is important. But the second homes and the holiday lets are important to our economy, and that needs to be done very, very carefully, if that is going to be the sole focus of this study.

I drio ateb y cwestiwn, mi all bod mwy o fudd mewn llety gwyliau nag ail dai—tai haf, os liciwch chi. Y rheswm am hynny ydy, wel, petai'r meini prawf yn codi ar lety gwyliau nes bod yna drosiant go lew o bobl yn ei ddefnyddio fo, yn hytrach nag un teulu, am ychydig o dymhorau, yna mae'n mynd i gael budd economaidd, achos mae yna bobl yn mynd i ddod yna, a gwahanol fathau o bobl hefyd. Yn wahanol i hynny, pan mae gennych chi dŷ haf, sef tŷ sydd ym mherchnogaeth un teulu, sydd ddim yn llety gwyliau, mae hwnna'n cael ei ddefnyddio am gyfnod llai, fel rheol. Ond ar y funud, mae'r meini prawf sydd gennym ni ar gyfer defnydd llety gwyliau yn isel iawn, a dydy o ddim efallai'n sbarduno digon o drosiant rhwng denu pobl wahanol trwy'r flwyddyn. Achos, yn fy marn i, dylai llety gwyliau fod yn llety gwyliau mewn gwirionedd sy'n cael defnydd am dros 200 diwrnod y flwyddyn o osod, a mwy o bosib, fel bod hynny yn minimwm. Beth sydd gennym ni ydy meini prawf ar y funud eich bod chi'n gorfod gosod am 30 diwrnod a'i gynnig e i'w osod am 140, dwi'n credu. Wel, dydy hynny jest ddim yn ddigon. Ac mae'n caniatáu, efallai, i deulu sydd yn ei ddefnyddio fo fel tŷ haf mewn gwirionedd gael rhyddhad o drethi oherwydd hynny. Ac felly, mae hynny ynddo'i hun yn niweidio ein heconomi ni mewn modd anuniongyrchol. Felly, mi ddylai fod llety gwyliau efo mwy o fudd economaidd na thŷ haf, ond, eto, mae yna fodd i wella hynny. Ond mae'r ddau—llety gwyliau a thŷ haf—yn amlwg, yn amddifadu pobl leol o dai. Yn fy marn i, dylai rhai tai ddim gallu bod yn dŷ haf neu'n llety gwyliau, achos, fel arall, maen nhw'n mynd i amddifadu neu fwyta mewn i'r stoc sydd gennym ni.

Beth rydyn ni'n gweld yn Nefyn, yn batrwm diweddar, ydy bod tai ar y stryd fawr yn troi'n llety gwyliau neu'n dai haf. Ac mae hynny wedi bod yn eithaf di-gynsail ar hyd y blynyddoedd, ynghynt felly. Mae'n amlwg bod pobl yn mentro efo Airbnbs, sy'n rhyw fath o ffactor, a phobl yn prynu pob math o dai bellach—dim jest tai detached ar lan y môr.  

To try to answer the question, there could be more benefit in holiday accommodation than in terms of second homes. And the reason for that is, well, if the criteria were to apply to a holiday accommodation so that there was that turnover attached to it, rather than one family using it only on weekends, then there would be benefits to that, because there would be different people using it. And the alternative to that is that you have one property that's used by one family, that's used for less time in a year. But at the moment, the criteria that we have for use of holiday accommodation are very low, and it doesn't encourage sufficient turnover in terms of use by different people throughout the year. In my view, holiday accommodation should be accommodation that is used for over 200 days a year, or more possibly, so that that is a minimum. At the moment, what we have as criteria is that you have to let it for 30 days and offer it for up to 140 days. Well, that just isn't enough. And it allows, perhaps, a family who actually uses it as a summer home, for example, to get tax relief because of that use. And so that in itself damages our economy in an indirect way. So, holiday accommodation should have more economic benefits than a holiday home, but, again, that process could be improved. But both kinds of accommodation do exclude local people from the housing market. In my opinion, some houses should not be able to be holiday accommodation or holiday homes, because they eat into the housing stock that we have.

What we have in Nefyn, as a recent pattern, is that houses on the high street turn into holiday accommodation or holiday homes. And that has been pretty unprecedented in terms of previous years. It is clear that people are turning their accommodation into Airbnbs and they are buying all kinds of different properties and not just detached houses on the seafront.

10:15

Okay. We've taken up quite a lot of the available time already on this, on the initial questions, so we're going to have to speed up a little, although I'm sure much of what has been said is relevant to later questions, in any event. Dyfrig, did you want to add anything?

[Anghlywadwy.]—yn un hynod o ddyrys. Dwi ddim yn economegydd, ond, wrth gwrs, mae gosodiadau gwyliau yn bwysig i economi ardaloedd gwledig—does yna ddim dwywaith am hynny. Mae'n dod nôl i'r cwestiwn am dwristiaeth gynaliadwy, onid ydy? Mae'n rhaid i ni gael y balans yn iawn. Hynny ydy, os ydyn ni'n cael gormod o ymwelwyr—dim ond o ran y niferoedd—wel, mae'n cael effaith andwyol ar gymunedau ac ar ein diwylliant ni ac yn y blaen. Ond, wrth gwrs, mae'n rhaid cydnabod bod yna le i osodiadau gwyliau mewn ardaloedd gwledig ac mae hynny'n bwysig i'w gydnabod. Fe wnaf i adael o yn fanna.

[Inaudible.]—is an extremely complex one. I'm not an economist, but, of course, housing lets are important to the economy of rural areas—there are no two ways about that. But it comes back to the question of sustainable tourism, doesn't it? We have to strike the balance. That is, if we have too many visitors—just in terms of numbers—well, it has a detrimental impact on communities and on our culture and so on. But, of course, we have to acknowledge that there is room for holiday lets in rural areas and that's important to acknowledge. I'll leave it there.

Sure. Okay, diolch yn fawr. We move on, then, to Sam Rowlands. Sam.

Thank you, Chair. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for your time this morning, it's really appreciated. I think a lot of what I was going to ask has already been touched on in terms of some of the decision making and where that should lie—whether it's at community town council level, county council or Welsh Government. But just to help me out a little bit, there are two elements here: there's this policy making and then there's decision making. And in terms of policy making, there's a framework that could be a national framework set up and then decisions are made at a local level, or there could be a policy set at a very local level around second homes, for example. I'm just wondering where you think that balance should lie. Is it a combination of both, very local and then national frameworks, for this type of thing or whether everything should be done at local level? It's a fairly open question, but, yes, policy and decision making—where should those things lie? Thanks.

Diolch yn fawr. Un o'r prif bethau amboutu hyn ydy'r egwyddor o sybsidiaredd—subsidiarity—ac yn sicr, un o'r pethau a gawsom ni gan gynghorydd Trefdraeth oedd bod cynghorau cymuned a thref yn teimlo nad oes digon o bŵer gyda nhw dros y system gynllunio. Pan dwi'n siarad â phobl o gynghorau tref a chymuned eraill, dwi'n clywed yr un peth, a chan ein cynghorwyr ni hefyd. Efallai y byddai'n haws inni gyfri faint o gynghorau tref yng Nghymru sydd ddim yn teimlo fel eu bod nhw'n ddi-bŵer yn y pethau yma. Felly, mae eisiau mwy o ddweud gan y cynghorau cymuned a thref. Mae'n werth nodi bod gan rai cynghorau cymuned a thref eu clust i'r llawr; mae'r cynghorwyr yn siarad â phobl leol ac maen nhw'n gwybod beth sy'n mynd ymlaen yn eu cymunedau lleol. Ond pan ŷn ni'n gweld—. Mae penderfyniadau yn cael eu gwneud ar lefelau uwch ac weithiau maen nhw'n gallu mynd ymhellach oddi wrth y bobl, a dyna lle mae'r sybsidiaredd yma yn dod i mewn. Dwi'n credu y byddai llawer o gynghorau tref a chymuned yn gwerthfawrogi mwy o ddweud, efallai, o ran polisi ond hefyd o ran penderfyniadau a sut dŷn ni'n delio â cheisiadau cynllunio. Felly dwi'n credu bod hynny yn bwysig a bod angen mwy o ddweud o lawr gwlad.

Thank you very much. For me, one of the major issues is the principle of subsidiarity, and certainly, one of the issues that were raised by the councillor from Newport is that the town and community councils feel that they don't have sufficient power over the planning system. When I talk to people from other town and community councils, I get the same impression, and our councillors feel the same—that they don't have the powers. Perhaps it would be easier to count the number of town and community councils that don't feel disempowered in this process. So, we do need more of a say for town and community councils. It's worth noting that, some town and community councils, their members speak to local people, they have their finger on the pulse in the local community, so they know what's what. But when we see—. Decisions are made on higher levels, and sometimes it feels as though they are far away and removed from local people, and that's where this subsidiarity principle comes in. I think that many town and community councils would welcome having more of a say in terms of policy, but also in terms of decisions, as you mentioned, and how we deal with planning applications. So, I think that that is an important point to make and that we need that local say.

10:20

Yes, thanks. That's really helpful to hear, and, yes, I think the balance of the two is interesting. Jano's got her hand up, sorry, Chair.

Yes. So, I think, from my point of view—. I'm saying 'my point of view' because there may be people in the community who disagree with me, but I think the main thing is that the Welsh Government has got to take a lead on this and enable the planning authorities—in our case, the national parks—to be able to focus on particular communities in a different way from other communities, to make a differentiation between communities. Pembrokeshire has got many different kinds of communities, with very many different needs and different solutions, but we have this one-size-fits-all solution at the moment that, in order to finance the affordable housing, you finance it with market housing. That is the rule. The proportions are fixed. And this is what is actually devastating our town, visually and culturally as well, because this is bringing in the second home owners, the retired people, and it's vital that the planning authorities work with the town councils. Newport Town Council could work with the national parks to formulate policy for Newport.

And the style of the building—. No-one mentions design. I don't know about the other communities, but the buildings that have been going up in Newport are not in the vernacular of the town. That in itself is an absolute—. It's destroying a beautiful community. It is possible to build modern houses in the old vernacular, and it's not being old fashioned or anything, but you can reproduce streets. It's possible to do that. All of those things in planning, the local community has to have a say in it.

The local community has to have more power and a closer relationship with the planners, because at the moment the power lies with the developers. The developers can push and push and push and push, and they get their way, and the town councils can do nothing, and the community gets angry. And the truth of the matter is that we don't feel safe. We don't feel safe about any piece of land that comes on the market. We don't feel safe when any house comes on the market. We all watch it. We watch the price going up on the land; we watch the price going up on the houses. We don't feel safe. We can't do anything. So, putting power into the local communities and the town councils taking the lead in those communities is absolutely essential to all of this. So, yes, Welsh Government, make that possible and then ensure that the planning authorities and the local authorities are actually having to do that. It's a very important future.

Dwi o'r farn bod angen polisi lleol, achos dŷn ni'n gweld y patrwm sydd gennym ni yng Nghymru o ran ail dai mewn gwahanol siroedd. Mewn rhai siroedd does yna ddim ond llond llaw o ail dai, ond mewn rhai eraill mae yna nifer uchel iawn, ac felly mae'n anghenraid o'r ystadegau yna i gael polisi, yn sicr ar lefel y sir, ond beth sydd gennym ni hefyd ei angen mewn rhai amgylchiadau penodol ydy bod angen, efallai, polisi penodol fwy fyth o fewn rhai siroedd yn ogystal. Mae gennych chi ystod eang o fewn Gwynedd o'r nifer o ail dai sydd yna mewn cymunedau. Yn Abersoch, mae yna dros 30 y cant yn braf. Yng Nghaernarfon, mae yna o dan 1 y cant. Wedyn, mae angen polisïau gwahanol oddi fewn i'r sir mewn gwahanol amgylchiadau, ond, yn sicr, mae rhaid iddo fo fod yn fwy na lefel cenedlaethol. Mae rhaid iddo fo fod yn fwy lleol na hynny.

I'm of the view that we need local policy, because we see the patterns that we have in Wales in terms of second homes in different counties. In some counties, there's only a handful of second homes, but in others there's a very high number of them, and so there is a need in terms of those statistics to have policy on a county level, but also in specific circumstances, perhaps, we need policy within some counties as well. You have a wide range within Gwynedd in terms of the numbers of second homes in particular communities. In Abersoch, over 30 per cent, easily, are second homes. In Caernarfon, it's less than 1 per cent. So, we need that difference in policy within counties according to local circumstances, but, certainly, it has to be finer than on a national level.

10:25

Thanks, Chair. I'm conscious of time, so just a really quick one here and perhaps maybe one person wants to respond. Just in terms of a—. I think someone mentioned it earlier. There's obviously a tipping point in communities as to when you think that there is a need for some sort of intervention. I'm just wondering how you think that can be defined. Rhys, your point just a second ago—. Wrexham as a county has, I think, five or fewer second homes, whereas Gwynedd has 5,500, and the furthest east of Gwynedd and the furthest west of Wrexham are probably only about 10 miles apart. So, how do you define a tipping point within communities around the number of second homes?

Rhys. Oh, there we are. And perhaps Dyfrig as well. Rhys first, then. 

Mi fuaswn i'n dweud mae'n siŵr ei fod o'n rhywbeth anodd ei ddiffinio. Ond, o safbwynt y Gymraeg a’n diwylliant ni, mae'r pwynt tyngedfennol, lle mae niwed yn cael ei greu, yn digwydd pan fo yna fwy o dai haf na'r ganran bresennol. Mae hynny yn naturiol. Mae yna ganrannau uchel mewn lot o ardaloedd yng Ngwynedd. Y munud mae yna fwy o dai haf na beth sydd yno'n barod, mae'r niwed yn mynd yn fwyfwy i'r Gymraeg. Mae yna lai o Gymry'n gallu byw yn eu cymunedau.

Sut ydych chi'n diffinio’r pwynt tyngedfennol? Mae o'n gwestiwn da, ond dydy o ddim mor syml â gosod canran ar gyfer yr holl sir. Mae o’n ddibynnol ar gymunedau'n unigol. Mae gennych chi—dwi'n meddwl mod i wedi'i grybwyll gynt—1 y cant o dai yng Nghaernarfon yn ail dai, ond petaech chi yn gosod trothwy o 15 y cant ar Gaernarfon a’r sir gyfan, y perygl ydy wedyn mae gennych chi bobl—. Bydd y trothwy wedi’i gyrraedd yn Nwyfor o'r nifer o ail dai, ac mi fydd pobl wedyn yn chwilio am ail dai yng Nghaernarfon, fyddai'n gwneud niwed mawr i wead ieithyddol y dref, sydd â'r ganran uchaf o siaradwyr Cymraeg. Felly, mae’n rhaid sbio ar bob cymuned yn unigol i weld beth ydy'r pwynt tyngedfennol. Dydy o ddim yn ddigon da i weld, 'Wel, os ydy'r ysgol wedi cau, wel, ydy hwnnw'n bwynt tyngedfennol?' Mae eisiau gallu rhagfynegi rhyw fodd beth fydd y niferoedd yn y dyfodol. Os dydy'r niferoedd ddim yn mynd i gwympo, yna mae'r pwynt tyngedfennol yn sicr wedi ei gyrraedd, onid ydy?

Mae prisiau hefyd yn fodd o fesur y pwynt tyngedfennol, fuaswn i'n tybio, i weld pwy sy’n gallu byw yn y sir, o ystyried cyflog cyfartalog y fro honno sy'n cael ei ystyried. Mae'n waith anodd ffeindio beth ydy'r pwynt tyngedfennol, ond, o safbwynt y Gymraeg, mae'n cael ei gyrraedd pan fo yno fwy o dai haf na beth sydd yno'n barod. Mae o wedi'i gyrraedd yn barod yn fy marn i, wedi hen fynd heibio. Rydyn ni mewn argyfwng dwys iawn, a dyna pam mae yna alwad mewn broydd Cymraeg i beidio â chael dim mwy o dai haf, a dyna'r sloganau sydd ym mhob man: dim mwy o dai haf. A'r rheswm am hynny ydy bod mwy yn golygu niwed yn syth.

Well, I would say that it is difficult to define, isn't it? But, in terms of the Welsh language and culture, for example, the point or threshold where damage is caused is when there are more second homes than the current percentage. There are very high percentages in many parts of Wales. When there are more second homes than now, even more damage is done to the Welsh language. There are fewer Welsh-speaking people who can live in their communities.

So, how can you define that threshold? That's a very good question, but it's not as simple as setting a percentage for the county as a whole. It is very dependent on individual communities. As I mentioned earlier, you have 1 per cent of homes in Caernarfon being second homes, but if you were to set a threshold of 15 per cent on Caernarfon and the whole county, the danger is then that you have people—. The threshold will have been reached in Dwyfor in terms of second homes and then people will be seeking second homes in Caernarfon and that would then have an impact on the linguistic fabric of that town, which has a very high percentage of Welsh speakers. You have to look at individual communities to decide what the threshold or tipping point is. It's not good enough to see, 'Well, the school's closed; that's a tipping point.' You have to be able to anticipate what the numbers will be. If the numbers aren't going down, then the tipping point has been reached, hasn't it?

In terms of prices, that could be a way of measuring a tipping point in terms of who can live in a county, bearing in mind the average wages in that area. That could be a consideration too. It's a very difficult job of work to decide on the threshold, but, in terms of the Welsh language, it's reached when there are more second homes than now. It has already been reached in some parts, in my view. We are in a crisis in some areas, and that's why the demand in Welsh-speaking communities is that no more second homes should be allowed, because it's having an impact now.

Ie, yn fyr iawn, iawn, pe bai gennym ni system drwyddedu, yna fe allai cymunedau benderfynu ar faint o dai, ail gartrefi, neu beth bynnag yr ydym ni'n sôn amdanyn nhw—tai haf—faint sydd yn dderbyniol i’w cymuned nhw. Hynny ydy, mi allai tref fel Dolgellau benderfynu, 'Wel, dydyn ni ddim eisiau mwy na 10 y cant o dai haf.' Os oes yna fwy na hynny rŵan, wel, dyna fo; fydd yna ddim mwy yn cael ei ganiatáu na'i drwyddedu, a dwi'n meddwl bod y penderfyniad yna yn un lleol.

Yes, very briefly, if we were to have a licensing system, then communities could decide how many second homes or whatever we're talking about—holiday homes—how many of them are acceptable to their communities, so towns such as Dolgellau could decide, 'Well, we don't want more than 10 per cent of homes to be second homes.' And if there were to be more than that now, then that's it, no more will be allowed or licensed, and I think that decision could be made locally.

Diolch. Mae yna nifer o ffyrdd i weld y trothwy. O ran y Gymraeg, wel, yn wyddonol, pan fo cymuned yn mynd o dan y 70 y cant o bobl yn y gymuned yn siarad Cymraeg, mae hynny'n drothwy yn ei hun yn ieithyddol. Yn rhannol oherwydd y sefyllfa o ran tai, does dim llawer o’r rhain ar ôl, ond mae’n werth nodi hynny pan dŷn ni'n sôn am y Gymraeg.

Ffordd arall yr hoffwn i ei weld e ydy pan dŷn ni'n cymharu'r rhai sy’n aros am do dros eu pennau â'r nifer o dai haf mewn rhyw ardal. Mewn rhai ardaloedd, mae rheini'n cyfateb yn eithaf da. Er enghraifft, yn sir Benfro, mae ychydig dros 5,000, dwi'n credu, ar y rhestr aros ac mae, dwi'n credu, dros 5,000 o dai haf. Yn Aberystwyth, mae 200 o dai haf yn ôl data o, dwi'n credu, tua 2020—mae siŵr o fod wedi mynd i fyny erbyn hyn—ac mae 118 o bobl yn aros am dai jest o ran categori A. Nawr, wrth gwrs, mae categorïau gwahanol ac mi fydd siŵr o fod mwy o bobl yn y categorïau is sydd yn aros am dai. Wel, mentrwn i, os oes cannoedd o bobl yn aros am dai ac mae rhyw 200 o dai haf yn y dref, gellid dadlau bod yna drothwy ynglŷn â hynny. Os oes dros hyn a hyn y cant o bobl yn aros a hyn a hyn y cant o dai haf, gellid dadlau, o ran moesoldeb creiddiol, fod yna drothwy i'w gael yn y fan yno. Hoffwn i ategu ei bod hi ond yn bosib inni gael y data er mwyn gweld os ŷn ni'n cyrraedd trothwyau os ŷn ni'n gweithredu i reoleiddio, os ŷn ni'n cyflwyno'r dosbarth newydd yma C5 ac C6 ac os ydy'r cynghorau sir yn gallu mynd ati i reoli y farchnad ail dai. Fel arall, dŷn ni ddim yn cael y data llawn er mwyn penderfynu os ŷn ni wedi cyrraedd unrhyw fath o drothwy rŷn ni wedi'i osod.

Thank you, Chair. There are a number of ways to decide what the tipping point is. In terms of the Welsh language, well, scientifically, when a community falls beneath 70 per cent of people in the community being able to speak Welsh, then that's a tipping point or a threshold itself in linguistic terms. Partly because of the situation in terms of second homes, there aren't many of those communities left, but it is worth noting that when we talk about the Welsh language in particular.

Another kind of threshold that I would like to see is when we compare those who are waiting for a roof above their heads versus the number of second homes in an area. For example, I think, in Pembrokeshire, around 5,000 people are waiting for a home and there are around 5,000 holiday homes. In Aberystwyth, there are 200 holiday homes, according to the data from, I believe, 2020—I'm sure it's gone up by now—and there are 118 people on the waiting list just in terms of category A. And, of course, there are different categories and I'm sure that there will be other people in the lower categories who are waiting for homes. Well, I would venture to say that, if there are hundreds of people waiting for a place to live and there are around 200 holiday homes in the town, it could be argued that there is a threshold or tipping point associated with that too. If you say that over such and such a percentage of people are waiting for a home and there is such and such a percentage of holiday homes, you could say that, just in moral terms, there has been a tipping point reached in that regard too. I'd like to echo what has been said, that it's only possible for us to data to see if we reach a certain threshold if we take action to regulate, if we introduce this new use class of C5 and C6 and if county councils can regulate the second homes market. Otherwise, we won't receive the full data to decide if we've reached any kind of threshold that we've set.

10:30

Okay. Thank you very much. We will have to move on now to Joel James.

Thank you, Chair, and thanks, everyone, for coming to today's evidence session. I know it's briefly been touched upon earlier in the talk, in the discussion, but I just want to touch upon taxation. Because one of the evidence sessions we've had was with Dr Simon Brooks, who, if I check my notes now, talked about calling for council tax premiums to be used in their fullest in areas that are being affected and whether or not there needed to be a consultation on if self-catering businesses should be exempt from small business rates relief. He also called for higher rates of land transaction tax to be varied more locally, and I'm conscious that the Welsh Government's also consulted on this. I just wanted to touch—pick your brains, I should say—on those issues. And what I'll do, I've got about three questions that I'll ask all in one go.

I'm keen to know your views on the role of local and national taxation in addressing issues connected to second homes and short-term lets. I'm also quite keen to know what your concerns are, or your thoughts, on that movement between properties from council tax to business rates. And then, also, finally, in terms of having that second home rate, to put it bluntly, what's the point of it, then? Is it there to disincentivise second home ownership, is it to penalise second home ownership, or is it there to raise funds for local projects? I'm conscious that, in previous evidence sessions, they've said that that second homes rate doesn't raise that much in the grand scheme of things in terms of the council taxes. And I want to also talk about then is there a tipping point, where there's that threshold where people are no longer prepared to pay that premium on second homes, and that's when the market will stop, and then how will that impact council tax payments in terms of residents who live in the community and call it their home. So, obviously, then, I'd imagine that shortfall would have to made up somewhere, and I just wanted to know your thoughts on that, then.

Diolch am y cwestiwn, achos dyma faes dwi'n wirioneddol cymryd diddordeb ynddo fe, a dweud y gwir, achos dwi'n meddwl bod trethiant yn un o'r arfau angenrheidiol, ynghyd â chynllunio a thrwyddedu, felly. Pwrpas y premiwm ydy dod ag incwm ychwanegol i mewn i gynghorau lleol er mwyn gwneud yn iawn am y golled yn y stoc dai, a dwi'n credu bod cynghorau'n defnyddio'r incwm ychwanegol yna ar gyfer darparu tai ar gyfer ein pobl ni.

Mae o hefyd—a defnyddio'ch term chi—yn disincentive; dwi'n siŵr ei fod o. Mae gorfod talu premiwm ddwywaith gymaint o dreth gyngor, felly, yn amlwg yn gwneud perchen ar ail dŷ yn ddrud. Y broblem rydyn ni'n ei gweld, wrth gwrs, ydy, o godi'r premiwm, yna mae nifer helaeth o ail gartrefi yn trosi i drethi busnes, ac mae hynny'n rhy rhwydd, ac rŷn ni'n colli'r incwm yna; mae yna golled i bwrs y wlad, wrth gwrs, os ydyn nhw'n talu dim. Dwi ddim yn credu, fy hun, y dylai ail gartrefi, tai haf, gael unrhyw fath o ryddhad trethiant, ond dwi'n credu mai'r ateb ydy, fel rŷn ni wedi cynnig, addasu adran 66 o Ddeddf llywodraeth leol fel bod pob tŷ annedd, yn ddiwahân, yn talu treth gyngor ac unrhyw bremiwm y mae cyngor lleol yn penderfynu codi arno—bod, felly, unrhyw dŷ annedd nad sydd wedi cael caniatâd cynllunio i ddefnydd arall, ond pob tŷ annedd, yn talu treth gyngor. Felly, mae hynny'n golygu does dim cwestiwn ynglŷn â faint o ddyddiau sydd yn cael eu gosod, a dydy'r swyddfa brisio ddim yn dod i mewn i'r peth. Mae o'n ateb rhwydd, mae o'n ddeddfwriaeth eilradd y medrir ei chyflwyno'n weddol sydyn, a dwi'n credu y byddai fo'n effeithiol a hefyd yn dod ag incwm ychwanegol i mewn i gynghorau lleol.

Mae o hefyd, wrth gwrs, yn disincentive sylweddol iawn, i fynd o beidio talu trethi o gwbl i fynd i dalu dwywaith neu fwy, yn ôl penderfyniad cynghorau lleol, felly, yn flynyddol. A dyma le dwi'n credu bod hwn yn arf bwysig; mae hwn yn dreth flynyddol ar y tai. Mae ychwanegu at y dreth drafodion tir, dwi'n credu, yn arf arall, ond dwi ddim yn credu y buasai fo mor effeithiol â chael pob tŷ annedd i dalu treth gyngor, ac felly'n dod i mewn i'r drefn premiwm lle mae hynny'n addas. Diolch yn fawr.

Thank you for the question, because this is area that I genuinely take an interest in, truth be told, because I think taxation is one of the vital tools, alongside licensing and planning. Part of the purpose of the premium is to bring in additional income to local councils to make up for the loss in housing stock, and I think councils use that additional income to provide homes in local areas.

It's also—to use your term—a disincentive; I'm sure it is. Having to pay a premium twice the rate of council tax clearly makes owning a second home expensive. The problem that we see, of course, is that, in increasing the premium, the vast majority of second homes convert to business rates, and that's too easy a process and we lose that income; there is a loss to the public purse if they don't pay anything. I don't believe that second homes or holiday accommodation should have any kind of tax relief. But I think that the solution is, as we've proposed, to revise section 66 of the local government Act so that every dwelling, without exception, pays council tax and any premium that a local council decides to levy. So, any dwelling that hasn't received planning permission for another use—every dwelling—should pay council tax. So, that means there is no question with regard to how many days the property is let, and the valuation office doesn't come into it. It's an easy answer, it's subordinate legislation that could be introduced fairly quickly, and I think it would be very effective in bringing additional income to local authorities.

Of course, it's also a significant disincentive, from not paying any taxes at all to paying twice or more, according to the decision of local councils, on an annual basis. And this is where I believe that this is a very important tool; this is an annual tax on houses. Adding to land transaction tax is another tool, but I don't think it would be as effective as getting every dwelling to pay council tax and, therefore, being part of the premium regime, where appropriate. Thank you.

10:35

Ie. Buaswn i'n licio pwysleisio mai trethiant ydy'r allwedd. Pan fuon ni, neu lywodraeth, ar hyd y canrifoedd, eisiau creu rhyw disincentive i bobl rhag gwneud rhywbeth neu'i gilydd, boed yn ysmygu neu'n yfed alcohol, maen nhw'n codi'r dreth arno fo. A syniad eithaf tebyg sydd ei eisiau efo ail gartrefi pan fyddan nhw'n niweidio cymunedau. Dyna pam mae angen trethi lleol sydd yn cyfarch y problemau hynny sydd o fewn y siroedd hynny lle mae ail dai wedi cyrraedd nifer uchel.

O ran llety gwyliau, dwi'n cytuno efo'r ffaith, o ran preswylfeydd, neu rywbeth sydd wedi bod yn brif breswylfa ar un adeg neu'i gilydd, y dylai fod yna dreth gyngor llawn ar gyfer y rheini. Hwyrach fod modd dadlau na fydd rhai adeiladau fyth yn addas i fod yn dŷ annedd parhaol ac efallai'i fod yn gwestiwn a ddylai'r rheini dalu treth gyngor. Ond, unrhyw beth sydd wedi bod yn adeilad, sydd wedi bod yn gartref, yna ddylai'r dreth fod yr un fath, neu fod y dreth gyngor yn eu taro nhw'r un fath. Ni ddylai fod yna eithriad i dreth gyngor fel nad ydych chi'n gorfod ei thalu hi, felly.

Buaswn i'n dweud mai treth dir ydy'r arf grymusaf i fedru rheoleiddio ail dai mewn ffordd effeithiol, ac yn enwedig o ran y gyfradd y maen nhw'n cael eu prynu ar hyn o bryd, lle maen nhw'n amddifadu pobl leol o dai parhaol. Beth mae treth dir yn cynnig ydy rhyw disincentive i bobl rhag prynu a gweld prynu tŷ haf yn rhywbeth sy'n mynd i fod yn fuddsoddiad. Os ydy'r dreth dir yn mynd i gael ei chynnig yn benodol ar gyfer pobl sydd yn prynu tŷ efo'r diben i'w prynu fel ail dŷ neu lety gwyliau, yna mae'n mynd i wneud byd o wahaniaeth. Mae'r hyn sydd yn yr ymgynghoriad ar dreth dir ar hyn o bryd yn rhywbeth arwyddocaol iawn, achos maen nhw'n cynnig creu treth uwch—mae yna dreth dir uwch yn barod, onid oes, ond mae yna dreth dir uwch byth yn cael ei chynnig ar gyfer y rheini sy'n prynu tŷ ar gyfer y pwrpas o'i brynu fo fel ail dŷ neu lety gwyliau. Ac os ydyn nhw'n prynu efo'r bwriad i'w ddefnyddio fel tŷ parhaol, ond yn y dyfodol yn ei ddefnyddio fo fel ail dŷ, yna maen nhw'n cael eu bachu nôl gan y dreth, a dwi'n meddwl bod hynny'n syniad da tu hwnt, ac mae'n sicr yn mynd i leihau'r raddfa mae'r tai haf yn cael eu prynu ar hyn o bryd. Achos dydyn ni erioed wedi gweld sefyllfa mor ddrwg, ac mi fydd codi treth dir yn ffordd o reoli'r farchnad i sicrhau nad oes mwy o bobl leol yn cael eu hamddifadu o dai. Diolch.

Yes. I'd like to emphasise that taxation is the key here. When we, or government, have, over the centuries, tried to create a disincentive to prevent people from doing something, be that smoking or drinking alcohol, they increase the tax on it. And perhaps that's what we need to do with second homes too when they are damaging to communities. That's why we need local taxes that acknowledge the problems within those communities where second homes have reached a high level.

In terms of holiday homes, I agree with the fact that dwellings, if they've been primary residences at one time or another, should have full council tax rates payable on them. Perhaps it could be argued that some buildings will never be suitable as permanent dwellings and, therefore, there is a question about whether they should pay full council tax. But, anything that has been a home or a permanent dwelling, then the council tax liable should be the same. There should be no exemptions from council tax for those. 

I would say that land tax is the strongest and most powerful tool for the effective regulation of second homes, particularly given the rate at which they are being bought at the moment, where local people are being deprived of permanent homes. What land tax offers is a kind of disincentive for people from buying a holiday home and seeing it as an investment. If the land tax is going to be put forward specifically for those people who buy homes with a view to using them as holiday accommodation or a second home, then it will make all the difference. The consultation on land tax is very significant at the moment, because they propose creating a higher rate of tax—there is already a higher land tax, but there is an even higher rate being proposed for those who buy a house with a view to using it as holiday accommodation or a second home. And, if they buy with the intention of using a property as a permanent dwelling but then in future use it as a second home or a holiday home, they will be included in the higher rate of tax. I think that's a very good idea, and it will decrease the rate at which second homes and holiday homes are being purchased at present. Because the situation has never been as bad as it is currently, and that higher rate of land tax will control the market so that no more local people are excluded from owning homes. Thank you.

10:40

Okay. Thank you, Rhys. Thank you, Joel. We'd better move on. I think, Carolyn, we've dealt with planning and regulation to a very considerable extent, but is there anything further you'd like to ask?

Yes, we have, actually. It's amazing how much has been touched upon already, which is how important it is. So, there is concern about whether or not local planning authorities have the resources to manage the register and licensing of holiday accommodation, and Rhys touched upon, perhaps, Rent Smart Wales having the resources to be able to do that instead, or managing it. So, I just wanted to—. Perhaps you'd want to say something further on that.

Also, the other question was whether town and community councils should have more say in how planning policy is implemented in the communities. So, that's been discussed quite a lot already, and the benefits of having a licensing system for short-term lets and holiday accommodation, which has already been touched upon. So, really, it's just about whether you think that there are enough resources in local authorities to be able to manage lets, if it's going to be an issue.

Fel cynghorydd sir, dwi'n neidio mewn i ateb y cwestiwn yna, a'r ateb yn syml ydy y bydd angen adnoddau ychwanegol i weithredu trefn gynllunio newydd a hefyd drefn drwyddedu newydd. Yn sicr, mi fyddai angen adnoddau ychwanegol.

O safbwynt cael trefn drwyddedu cenedlaethol, mae'n well gen i gael trefn leol, sirol, os mynnwch chi, lle mae yna well atebolrwydd nag sydd yna i ryw drefn genedlaethol. Ond, yr ateb yn syml ydy y bydd angen mwy o adnoddau mewn un ffordd neu'r llall, felly. Ac os ydyn ni â'r awydd i weithredu'r rhain, yna bydd rhaid cael yr adnoddau ychwanegol hynny felly—a dwi'n pwysleisio 'ychwanegol' achos mae hi'n gŵyn gyson gan awdurdodau lleol bod mwy o bwerau, neu mwy o gyfrifoldebau, yn cael eu rhoi ar gynghorau sir ond dyw'r arian ddim yn dilyn. Ac mae hwnna'n hen, hen gŵyn, a dwi'n eich gweld chi'n gwenu. Ond, yn yr achos yma, os oes yna ymroddiad i geisio darganfod ateb, yna mi fyddai angen adnoddau ychwanegol, byddai.

Well, I'm jumping in as a county councillor to answer that question, and the simple answer is that there will be a need for additional resources to implement a new planning regime and a new licensing regime. Certainly, there would be a need for additional resources for all of that.

From the point of view of having a national licensing regime, I would prefer to have a locally based, county-based, if you will, system, where there is better accountability than there is in a national system. But the simple answer is that there will be a need for more resources in one way or another. And if we have the desire to take action in this area, then we will need to have those additional resources to do just that—and I emphasise 'additional' resources because it is a constant complaint from local authorities that more responsibilities are given to county councils but the funding doesn't follow. That's an old, old complaint, and I see you smiling. But, in this case, if there is a commitment to try to seek solutions, then there will need to be additional resources, yes.

Can I just say 'thank you very much' to everybody who's attended? It's been really interesting and informative and useful, so thank you very much.

Okay, thank you, Carolyn. Let's move, then, to Alun Davies. Alun.

Diolch yn fawr, a diolch am eich amser. Ac, ie, Dyfrig, dwi yn gwenu wrth eich clywed chi'n dweud hynny. Dwi'n sylwi eich bod chi wedi croesawu'r setliad presennol, ac mae hynny'n beth pwysig. Fel eraill, dwi'n gwerthfawrogi'r amser a'r cymorth dŷn ni wedi'i gael y bore yma. Wrth edrych ymlaen, dwi'n gweld hefyd fod cyngor Trefdraeth—sori, dwi'n darllen y Saesneg ac roeddwn i bron â dweud 'Casnewydd'—wedi bod yn cynnal arolwg o'r dref ac yn edrych ar y materion sy'n benodol i Drefdraeth. Ac o ran un o'r pethau dŷn ni wedi'i glywed—ac roedd Simon Brooks yn dweud hyn yn ei dystiolaeth e hefyd—amboutu'r fath o ddata a gwybodaeth sydd gennym ni—ydych chi i gyd yn hyderus bod gennym ni'r math o gefndir, cefndir data, felly, sydd ei angen arnom ni, neu ydych chi'n gallu pwyntio at fylchau ble mae angen mwy o ddata a mwy o wybodaeth arnom ni cyn inni symud ymlaen, achos mi fuasai hynny'n help mawr inni, dwi'n meddwl?

Thank you very much, thank you for your time. Yes, Dyfrig, I was smiling when you said that. I note that you've welcomed the current settlement, and that's important to note. Like others, I very much appreciate the time and support that you have given to us this morning. Looking ahead, I see, too, that Newport council—I'm reading the English here; I almost said 'Casnewydd', but it's 'Trefdraeth', Newport in Pembrokeshire—have been holding a survey of the town and have been looking at the issues pertinent to Newport. As to one of the things that we have heard—and Simon Brooks said this in his evidence, too—about the kinds of data and information that we have on this, are all of you confident that we have the kind of background information and data that we need, or can you point us to any gaps where having further the information and data would assist us to move ahead? I think that would be very helpful.

10:45

Yes, it is 'Tydraeth' or 'Tydrath'—the name of Newport.

In terms of gaps in knowledge, I think one of the things that affects us very much here is—and it is a pretty well ignored part of this report—the quantity, the sheer number of affluent elderly people moving into the community. While they're wonderful to have here and they're great volunteers and they keep us going, it is one of the main causes of the loss of use of the Welsh language. There are no children going to the school and they can afford the houses. Land transaction tax isn't going to touch them; it's peanuts. So, that is something that we need to quantify, and I don't know what you can do about it, but it is a big—. If I say 'problem', that's overstating it; it is one of the issues that needs to be addressed, and I don't know how the hell we do it, to be honest. I just wanted to say that.

O ran y data, dwi wedi bod yn astudio data treth dir yn reit fanwl, yn enwedig y dreth dir uwch, yr higher rates land tax. Maen nhw wedi eu torri i lawr rŵan yn stats blynyddol, ac maen nhw wedi eu rhannu'n stats i bob sir ac i bob Senedd constituency yn ogystal. Beth fuaswn i'n licio ei weld a beth fuasai'n ddata effeithio, a dwi'n siŵr eu bod nhw gan yr Welsh Revenue Authority, ydy data treth dir ar gyfer cymunedau unigol—wardiau, mewn ffordd. Dwi'n siŵr y buasai'r WRA yn gallu torri i lawr y data i'r modd yna, neu'n gallu eu cyflwyno nhw i'r Llywodraeth. Dwi, yn rhinwedd fy swydd, yn gwneud ceisiadau treth dir i gleientiaid, a beth sydd gennych chi gwestiynau arnynt ydy eich enw, eich cyfeiriad blaenorol, pris y tŷ, ydych chi'n prynu eich tŷ cyntaf neu'ch ail dŷ, ydy o'n subject to higher rates, a lleoliad y tŷ rydych chi'n ei brynu. Felly, mae yna fewnbwn data—dyna'r mewnbwn sydd yn mynd i mewn wrth wneud cais treth dir. Felly, dylid cael data hynod leol ar gyfer y dreth dir a byddai hynny'n ein galluogi ni i ragweld faint o brynu ail dai sydd ym mhob cymuned unigol, fel wardiau, felly, yn hytrach na fesul sir, achos, mewn rhai cymunedau, mae'n broblem ddwys, yn enwedig rhai arfordirol, ac mae angen gweld y sefyllfa yn gliriach.

Beth sydd ddim gennym ni chwaith ydy rhyw fath o ragdybiaethau o gynaliadwyedd cymunedau yn y dyfodol. Mae'n bechod, a dweud y gwir, nad ydy ein hadroddiadau cenedlaethau'r dyfodol, sy'n cael eu creu gan gynghorau sir, yn mynd yn ddigon manwl er mwyn inni allu dadansoddi pa mor gynaliadwy ydy wardiau penodol oddi mewn i'r sir honno a pha mor gynaliadwy fyddan nhw yn y dyfodol. Buasem ni'n gallu gweld, drwy ragdybiaethau fel hynna, faint o blant sydd yn yr ysgolion, beth ydy'r cwymp, beth ydy'r cwymp mewn pobl sy'n byw'n barhaol yn y pentrefi, faint o ail dai sydd yna, faint o siaradwyr Cymraeg sydd wedi disgyn, a bod hynny fesul ward, a gallem ni wedyn ddefnyddio'r patrwm pryniannau i ragdybio sut fydd hi'n y dyfodol. Byddai hynny'n ddata effeithiol iawn inni wedyn allu teilwra'n polisïau i ateb y problemau sydd yn y cymunedau unigol yma, achos mae pob cymuned efo'i phroblem ei hun, fel y gwyddom.

Felly, dyna rydw i'n ei awgrymu: bod yna ddata treth dir y cael eu torri i lawr fesul ward yn hytrach na fesul sir—mae'n bosib iawn iddyn nhw wneud hynny, dwi'n credu—ac yn ychwanegol bod adroddiadau cenedlaethau'r dyfodol yn fwy sbesiffig o lawer nag ydyn nhw ar hyn o bryd ac yn cael eu torri i lawr yn glir fesul ward, achos dydy cynaliadwyedd sir neu ranbarthau'r sir ddim yn rhywbeth y gallwch chi ei ddefnyddio i weld os oes gan gymuned neu'i gilydd ddyfodol i fod yn gymuned fyw, a dyna rydyn ni ei angen ar hyn o bryd. Mae'r data'n cael ei gasglu beth bynnag—dydy o ddim fel ein bod ni eisiau data o'r newydd. Yr oll rydyn ni eisiau ydy gweld yr holl ddata sydd gennym ni a'i ddadansoddi fo mewn ffordd mwy penodol. 

In terms of the data, I've been studying data for the land transaction tax, particularly that higher rate of land tax. It's been disaggregated now in terms of annual statistics, and according to county and every Senedd constituency too. What I would like to see and what would be very effective data, and I'm sure the Welsh Revenue Authority has it, is land tax data for individual communities, and wards, in a way. I'm sure that the WRA would be able to disaggregate the data in that way and present it to the Government on that basis. As part of my role, I put forward land tax applications for my clients, which ask for their name, their previous address, the price of the home, whether they're buying their first or second home, whether it is subject to higher rates, and the location of the house that is being bought. So, there's a lot of data provided in making an application with regard to land transaction tax. Therefore, there should be that hyperlocal data relating to land tax, which would enable us to see how many second homes are being bought in individual communities and wards, rather than according to county, because, in some wards, it's a very intensive problem, particularly those in coastal areas, and we need a clearer picture of the situation.

What we also don't have is some kind of presumption of the future sustainability of communities, and it's a shame that our future generations reports by county councils don't go into that detail so that we can analyse how sustainable specific wards are within individual counties and how sustainable they'll be in future. Making that kind of analysis would enable us to see how many children are in the schools and whether numbers have declined, whether the number of people living permanently in villages has declined, how many second homes there are, whether the number of Welsh speakers has declined, and we could do that according to ward. We could then look at purchasing patterns in order to have an idea of future impact. This would be very effective data, as it would enable us to tailor our policies to meet needs in individual communities, because every community has its own issues and problems to face, as we know.

So, I think we should look at the data on land transaction tax, disaggregated according to ward rather than according to county. I think that's possible. Also, we should have future generations reports that are far more specific than they currently are and which are disaggregated clearly according to ward, because the sustainability of a county or region won't let you decide whether an individual community will have a thriving future, and that's what we need. We need to see that glimpse of what's happening on the ground. The data is being collected anyway—we don't need new sets of data. What we want to do is use the data that we currently have in a more specific way. Thank you.

10:50

Okay. Great. Thank you all very much. Thank you all for coming in to give evidence to committee this morning. It is very valuable and useful for us. You will be sent a transcript in due course to check for factual accuracy. Diolch yn fawr.

3. Papurau i’w nodi
3. Papers to note

The next item on the committee's agenda today is item 3, papers to note. There are three papers to note. The first is a letter from Gwynedd Council in relation to second homes. So, that will feed into this inquiry. The second is a letter from the Petitions Committee with regard to a petition urging more work on affordable homes, and we will consider that later today when we deal with our forward work programme. And the third is a letter from the Minister for Finance and Local Government on the draft budget, which, again, we'll be considering later in the meeting today when we deal with our budget report. Is committee content to note those papers on that basis? Yes. Thank you very much.

4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(ix) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod
4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 (ix) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Item 4, then, is a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of this meeting. Is committee content to do that? Okay. Thank you very much. We will, then, move into private session.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:51.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 10:51.