By Mark Isherwood

MS for North Wales

Speaking in the Welsh Parliament on the Welsh Government’s new Council Tax Regulations for ‘Long-term Empty Dwellings and Dwellings Occupied Periodically’, which will allow local authorities to charge a Council tax premium of up to 300% on second homes in Wales, I raised the concerns of holiday-let business owners in North Wales that these proposals would condemn large numbers of legitimate Welsh holiday-let businesses to these increased council tax premiums, and asked what Impact Assessments have been carried out of the consequences of these regulations for them.

As one business owner told me, 'We're open all year, are fully booked during peak season, but usually only have weekend/short-break bookings during the quieter months. I fear we will end up bankrupt’; and as another asked, ‘how could Council Tax be charged on cottages that have planning permission which states that they can never be residential?’.

Questioning the Health Minister, I highlighted the problems people in North Wales are experiencing in accessing an NHS Dentist and stated “It's 16 years since the North Wales Regional Committee raised concerns about a forthcoming NHS dental crisis in Wales, and here we are, all these years later, in these circumstances.”

Questioning the Social Justice Minister, I raised concern that the Welsh Government was still not listed as a sponsor on the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ portal, although the Scottish Government was, and that some Ukrainian refugees who have already arrived in Wales had not been able to access the support and services they needed, highlighting the case of a Flintshire constituent whose wife went to Poland to bring back her Ukrainian Mum. The Minister said the Welsh Government was due to become a ‘super-sponsor’ under the UK Government's ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme on Friday 25th March.

I also asked the Economy Minister how he will work with the UK Government to maximise the economic benefit of UK Government investment in transport infrastructure projects for the Mersey Dee area and its highly integrated cross-border economy.

Engagements included meetings in my capacity as Chair of the Senedd/Welsh Parliament Public Accounts and Public Administration Committee, Cross Party Group on Dementia, ‘Love Your Liver Roadshow’, Equality and Human Rights Commission Survey, meeting with my Mentee under the ‘Equal Power Equal Voice’ cross-equalities mentoring programme, and Target Ovarian Cancer’s ‘Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month’ event.

I also attended Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Clwyd Awards Ceremony 2022 at Hightown Barracks Wrexham and the North Wales Police Federation Community Service Award Dinner.

If you need my help, email or call 0300 200 7219.