A public consultation on potential increases to second home and empty property council tax premiums in Ceredigion has been backed by senior councillors.

One of the county’s coastal towns – New Quay - has a second homes rate of more than a quarter of all properties, council figures show.

Ceredigion currently has a 25 per cent premium on both second homes and empty properties, while neighbouring authorities have higher levels; Pembrokeshire at 100 per cent, Carmarthenshire at 50 per cent, and Powys at 75 per cent.

New Welsh Government local tax rules now allow local authorities being to collect council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties at up to 300 per cent.

A report before Ceredigion Cabinet members, meeting on September 5,  considered the approach required if the council wishes to change the level of council tax premiums.

For the 23/24 budget there were 33,856 chargeable properties in Ceredigion, 1,697 of them second homes and 592 empty properties, the two classes representing 6.8 per cent of all properties.

Areas with the highest proportion of second homes in the county were mostly coastal, the highest being New Quay, with a 27.2 per cent rate, followed by Llangrannog 17.1, Borth 14.1, Pontarfynach 11, Penbryn 9.6, Aberaeron 9.1, and Aberporth 8.4.

Long-term empty properties were greatest in more urban areas: Aberporth 2.2 per cent, Aberystwyth 1.8, Cardigan 1.5, and Llandysul 1.5.

A report for Cabinet members said any change to the level of the council tax premium must be made by full council, and would need to be approved before December 31 in order to take effect in the next financial year.

The report concluded: “It is important that consideration is given to engagement and consultation with key stakeholders. This will include both the wider electorate (residents and businesses) and those currently affected by the existing 25 per cent premium.

“It is therefore proposed that a formal public consultation is launched, which will last for at least a six-week period during September and October. Council tax premiums can be an emotive topic as well as having technical aspects to it.

“It is therefore proposed to set up a politically-balanced cross-party working group of members to provide a forum to receive further research papers, modelling, to receive a report on consultation responses in due course and to support detailed discussions on any potential changes prior to further consideration by Cabinet and then, ultimately, full council if there is a proposal to change the existing level of council tax premium.”

Members backed a recommendation to start a formal public consultation, with the conditions and procedures as outlined in the report.

A similar consultation recently closed in Pembrokeshire, the results of which are to be considered by senior councillors next month.