Songwriter speaks out about second home crisis devastating Welsh communities
Can you imagine living in a community where 39.8% of all homes were second homes?
This is the current situation in Llanengan on the Llyn Peninsula.
It is also the community where musician Al Lewis spent his childhood.
“Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to witness the painful transformation that is taking place in the field in which I was raised,” he said.
“Locals who want to raise families in their local communities are now being pushed out due to pandemic-heightened valuations.
“It also erodes the Welsh language at the same time by diluting the very areas where the language was the primary language of everyday life.”
Growing up as a native Welsh speaker – that quiet but growing transformation of the place Al called home – has been laid bare in his new single ‘The Farmhouse’.
“The lyrics focus on how people in so many rural communities in Wales are valued by wealthier individuals looking to buy second homes,” he added.
“It is also affecting the cultural makeup of these communities, as we are seeing an increasing number of examples of long-standing Welsh names being wiped off the map and replaced by generic English names that have no meaning for the area where they are. find. .”
In response to the current second home crisis, a series of measures have been set out in a cooperation agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru which will see the maximum increase in second home tax raised to 300%.
The move aims to address the negative impact of vacant homes, vacation rentals and soaring property prices on local communities.
Councils in Wales will be able to set the premium at any level up to the maximum, from April 2023.
The maximum premium councils can charge at present is 100%, meaning the new measure could result in a possible 200% tax increase.
It will be possible to apply different rates for secondary residences and long-term empty accommodation.
“The Farmhouse” premieres April 8.
Al Lewis will play the following dates in April/May.
Saturday 30 April – The Gate, Cardiff
Friday 6 May – Mwldan Theatre, Cardigan
Saturday May 7 – Aberystwyth Arts Center
Friday 13 May – Galeri, Caernarfon
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