North Wales second home owners say they won't use Welsh businesses due to higher council tax

The letter has been put on social media, sparking a critical reaction from many Credit: MEN Media

A couple with a holiday home in north Wales have said they will stop using Welsh companies in protest at the extra taxes they face.

The angry couple sent a letter this week to Edwards of Conwy butchers saying they would use an English company instead.

In the letter, Phil and Sandra said they now feel "unwanted" due to the higher taxes, adding they had spent hundreds of pounds a year in the butchers since buying their second home in north Wales

Under new rules, councils are now able to charge 300% of the standard rate of council tax, although no local authorities currently charge that figure.

The Welsh Government has also changed the criteria for holiday homes qualifying for business rates, under which they avoid council taxes.

Ieuan Edwards, who owns Edwards of Conwy, said second home owners should be expected to pay higher taxes Credit: MEN Media

Higher charges are designed to try to lower demand for second homes, stemming a hike in local house prices.

But the changes have led to frustration from parts of the tourism sector.

It also comes as the Welsh Government moves towards introducing a tourism tax.

Despite praising Edwards for their "wonderful" produce and staff, the home owner said: "I feel so angry at how we've been treated I cannot give my money to local business again."

Phil and Sandra added they know others who feel the same, and said councils might think differently when people "bring food with them" instead of buying locally.

In Conwy, the council are charging a 50% premium for this year and recommend an indicative level of 100% premium on both long-term empty homes and second homes from April next year.

The new council tax rules try to prevent local people being priced out of areas like Conwy Credit: MEN Media

The couple have been widely criticised on social media.

One Twitter user said: "The entitlement in this says it all, if they can afford a second home they can afford the tax end of, no need to question the Welsh Government on it", while another added: "Threatening you for being a Welsh company just because they don't like a decision of the Welsh Govt is strange behaviour."

Ieuan Edwards, who owns Edwards of Conwy, responded by saying: "When second homeowners are in residence, obviously they contribute to the local economy and this is much appreciated, but most of the year the houses lie empty, and they contribute nothing.

"I personally fully understand why someone would want to buy a holiday home and live in a place such as Conwy, as it’s beautiful. But, to enjoy this perk they must contribute more to help compensate for the reduction of local housing stock. The same is true of Cornwall and the Lake District.

"I have 2 of my 3 children of a house buying age and it’s almost impossible for them to contemplate such a purchase, this cannot be right. The planning consent rules for local people also needs a major overall to reflect local needs.

"My suggestion would be a multi-discipline approach to solving this conundrum.

"This, or a similar template could be rolled out to other areas of the UK who are experiencing similar problems."