CAMPAIGNERS from Cornwall, Wales and Scotland will meet in Ceredigion next month to discuss tackling the house price crisis, with special attention given to how holiday homes threaten the Welsh language.

In Ceredigion, house prices are more than seven times average wages. Last year, 39% of the homes sold in nearby Gwynedd were either holiday homes or ‘buy to let’ – a rise of 34% from the previous year.

Following a campaign by Cymdeithas yr Iaith, councils were given the right to raise the level of council tax on second homes, and many of them have since increased the tax over the last two years.

In St Ives in Cornwall around a quarter of all homes are second homes. Following a referendum three years ago, a new rule was introduced that means no new homes can be bought as second homes.

Cllr Loveday Jenkin from Cornwall Council and architect Màrtainn Mac a'Bhàillidh from a language group in Scotland will be among the speakers at a discussion in Aberystwyth about housing organised by Cymdeithas yr Iaith.

It will be held in Canolfan y Morlan on Saturday, October 12 (2pm) and Robat Idris from Cymdeithas yr Iaith said: “More and more people are finding it difficult to live in their local area. In turn, that undermines community life, our towns and our villages and the Welsh language.

“We need a property system which ensures that house prices reflect what local people can afford. That’s why we’ve decided that housing, including holiday homes, will be the main focus of our annual general meeting.

“We hope to bring speakers together from various countries in order to discuss what we can do differently. Some policies in Porth Ia (St Ives) in Cornwall offer an answer to the problems, with restrictions on second homes.

“But we need to consider other measures in order to bring prices down. One possible answer is to normalise houses as a public service in public hands rather than a private asset. Bringing the right to buy to an end was a step in the right direction, but how do we bring the present private housing stock back into the hands of local communities?

“It also needs to be realised that unaffordable houses are only part of the reason for the patterns of out-migration and in-migration that are undermining the language in our communities.

“Our ‘Gwaith i Adfywio Iaith’ (Work to Renew a Language) policies which we published last year offer some simple measures to get to grips with the economic challenges, including recommending establishing local banks with the support of local councils and their pension funds; a tourism levy to support investment in broadband access in every part of the country; abolishing tuition fees for students who stay to study in Wales; devolving hundreds of jobs out of Cardiff; and establishing training colleges for health workers and vets in Aberystwyth and Bangor.”