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£4m could be raised by charging second home owners double council tax



THE LABOUR GROUP on Pembrokeshire County Council are calling for council tax on second homes to be increased to double the standard rate.

People who own a second home in Pembrokeshire already pay 150% of the standard council tax rate. This is called the Second Home Premium.

The Labour councillors say that by increasing the tax on people who own second homes in Pembrokeshire to 200% the standard rate, an additional £4m could be raised to help pay for under-pressure local authority services.

The Notice of Motion on the matter is worded as follows: “We the undersigned county councillors from the Labour Group call on Pembrokeshire County Council to increase second home council Tax from the existing 50% to 100%, by raising the council tax on second homes for the 2021/22 financial year at 100% which would raise an additional £4 million which the authority can utilise on other essential services.”

The document has been signed by Cllr Thomas Tudor, Cllr Alison Tudor, Cllr Paul miller, Cllr Joshua Beynon, Cllr Anthony Wilcox, Cllr Guy Woodham Cllr Vic Dennis Cllr Thomas Tudor, County Councillor for the “Castle Ward” of Haverfordwest.

But Lib Dem’s Bob Kilmister – County Councillor for Dinas Cross Ward on Pembrokeshire County Council told this newspaper that the matter was already up for discussion with the Council Tax Working Group.

“I think the idea was first suggested by a Plaid Cymru member”, he said. “We have commissioned an independent report. We also have to be aware that we cannot implement the tax rise straight away as a consultation has to take place, so we are looking at April 2022 at the very earliest”.

Cllr Kilmister also explained that the money raised cannot be spent on anything the Council likes, but it would have to be spent on mitigating the impacts of second home ownership.

The extra cash could not be used, therefore, to generally boost the council’s coffers.

“There generally seems to be support for the increase”, Cllr Kilmister told The Herald.

From 1 April 2017, local authorities have been be able to charge a premium of up to 100% of the standard rate of council tax on long-term empty homes and second homes in their areas. The legislative changes were made by the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 and the powers given to local authorities are discretionary. Whether to charge a premium on long-term empty homes or second homes (or both) is, therefore, a decision to be made by each local authority.

According to the Pembrokeshire County Council website, the definition of a second home is a dwelling which is not a person’s sole or main home and is substantially furnished. The Council’s policy is not to award any discount and therefore the full charge is payable.

Plan to raise £4m: Cllr Tudor is one of those who have signed the the Notice of Motion

The Council decided to charge from the financial year 2017/18 a premium of 50% in addition to the standard rate of council tax for properties that fall within their published definition of a second home.

The council ask People to own up if their dwelling is classed as Second Home within the council’s down definition. They state: “If you believe you should not be subject to the premium or your property falls within the above definition but your bill does not reflect the additional charge, you should inform the Council within 21 days.

“Failure to supply or to give false information may result in the imposition of a penalty of £50.00, payment of which is enforceable in the Magistrates Court.

“Several factors are considered when determining a person’s main residence for council tax purposes.

“These include where an individual is registered to vote; whether the property is owned or rented; the amount of time spent at the property; family ties; where the majority of an individual’s personal possessions are kept; where an individual is registered with a GP/dentist; where their correspondence is sent; where their partner resides and where their children go to school (if applicable).”

The Second Home Premium does not hit landlords, as the tenants are liable for the council tax in the properties they occupy and therefore the property would not come under the definition of a second home under those circumstances.


Pembrokeshire residents can quickly check symptoms for variety of conditions on NHS 111 Wales online



NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker can save Pembrokeshire patients time by helping them find the right NHS service for treatment. Symptoms can be quickly checked for a variety of conditions and advice given on the best way to treat them by visiting which is hosted by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

The way we access NHS services has changed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with more options now becoming increasingly utilised, including the NHS 111 Wales online service which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be used for both health information and advice and to access urgent primary care in Welsh and English.

In a recent YouGov survey, a third of Pembrokeshire residents had not even heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker and only 19% had used it during the past 12 months.

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are asking everyone to help us by reconsidering the way you access NHS services. The methods available have changed but we are still here for you. It is worth getting to know the different ways you can access the NHS so you can be seen and treated quicker with your first port of call being NHS 111 Wales.”

According to the YouGov survey, carried out for the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign, only 67% of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker. However, 86% said they felt it was important to have access to the service.   

NHS 111 Wales online can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. The way it works is: You answer questions about your symptoms on the website and depending on the situation you will:

  •           Get self-care advice
  •           Be told how to get any medicine you need
  •           Find out what local service can help you
  •           Be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
  •           Get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
  •           Be given an arrival time if you need to go to A&E – this might mean you spend less time in A&E

For those who don’t have confidence going online to seek advice, there is the NHS 111 Wales phone service. This is also a free service where patients can contact the NHS by dialling 111 to receive advice on the best way to manage their issue or gain further assistance if needed. The bilingual telephone service is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Eighty-four percent of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales phone service when asked for the recent YouGov survey but only 20% had used the telephone service during the last 12 months.


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Trial date for son accused of killing mum



THE SON of Judith Rhead, 68, who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Feb 20 will now appear in Crown Court again in October.

Dale Morgan, 43, said to be a scout master, appeared in court only to confirm his name, date of birth and address – which was listed as Honeyborough Green, Neyland.

A plea and trial preparation hearing date was set for March 26 with a provisional trial date set for October 4.

He was remanded in custody.

In court papers it stated that the alleged murder took place between December 10, 2020 and February 21, 2021.

The paperwork demonstrates that the police are unsure of the exact date that Ms Rhead died. The large date range, two months, points to the likelihood that this will be a challenging case for all those involved.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan



MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link:

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.


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