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Vacant land tax proposed in Wales

Words: Roger Milne
Vacant land / Shutterstock_479728297

The Welsh Government has announced that it will proceed with plans to impose a tax on landowners who fail to develop sites that are ripe for development.

Mark Drakeford, cabinet secretary for finance, said ministers would take forward a vacant land tax to test taxation powers conferred by the Wales Act 2014.

The measure could work in a similar way to a vacant site levy in the Irish Republic. Local authorities would draw up a list of vacant land suitable to be developed.

Since announcing a shortlist of new tax ideas alongside the draft Budget in October, the administration has been examining the case for a social care levy, a vacant land tax, a disposable plastics tax and a tourism tax.

Although the vacant land tax idea will be used to test the Wales Act powers, work will continue on each of the other three options.

Drakeford said: “Housing is a priority for the government. A tax on vacant land could prevent the practice of land banking and land not being developed within the expected timescales.

“The Republic of Ireland vacant sites levy provides a useful starting point for how a vacant land tax could work in Wales.”

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