New figures out today show that there are 19,764 empty and unfurnished homes across Wales which are currently exempt from council tax. In addition there are a further 5,604 dwellings which are exempt as a result of being vacant on the death of the occupant or owner.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats Housing Spokesperson, Peter Black has said that these figures underline the need to for the Welsh Government to take further action to bring homes back into use:
"These statistics highlight how many dwellings in Wales are empty, blighting our communities and not contributing to our communities through Council Tax payments. Although Welsh Government loans have had some impact in bringing empty homes back into use, more needs to be done. That is why I support measures in the Housing Bill that will increase council tax on long-term empty homes so as to encourage owners to make use of these loans. "
"This was a Welsh Liberal Democrat idea, and will provide a stick to force landlords to bring empty homes back into use. It will also provide some recompense to the community who have had to put up with the blight of long-term empty homes. As the Housing Bill progresses through the Assembly I will be suggesting that the government considers a staircasing provision so that a property that is empty for a longer period might attract a higher council tax."