ALMOST £1m has been generated from extra council tax levied on owners of holiday homes and long-term empty properties on Anglesey during its first year in operation.

In April 2017, Anglesey Council implemented a 25% council tax premium for owners of such properties thanks to new powers devolved from Cardiff Bay,

Hoping to recoup around £1m in additional revenue from the scheme, the authority almost achieved this aim in its first year – generating £949,000.

Recent figures show that there are 784 long term empty properties on the Island with 35% having been empty for more than four years.

There are also 2,311 second homes with ONS (Office for National Statistics) figured based on the 2011 census showing that 43% of homes in Rhosneigr were listed as being empty for most of the year, with Trearddur Bay coming in second at 34%.

Unveiling the scheme, the authority promised that the premium would serve as a sensible starting point to help bring long empty properties back into use and support young people onto the property ladders, whilst still protecting the island’s tourism industry.

Today, Anglesey Council confirmed that an additional £949,000 in revenue had been generated, tying in with its objective of bringing more empty homes into use and boost the first time buyer market.

Though the additional income is not formally ring fenced, the authority has also endeavoured to help the 300 people currently on the waiting list for social homes by endeavouring to boost its own housing stock by 500 properties over the next 30 years.

This will be achieved by building its own and buying former housing properties lost in the past through the Right to Buy.

“As of July 23, 2018 seven properties have been returned to use, with a further seven currently under renovation,” said a spokesman.

“By the end of December 2018, it is anticipated that 18 empty properties will be brought back into use and therefore this scheme will have supported 18 first time buyers across Anglesey to purchase their own home.”

Meanwhile, the statement of accounts for 2017/18 confirmed the authority’s earlier projection of a £1.78m overspend for the financial year.

The main reason for this was an overspend within the children’s services department – blamed on an increase in the number of looked after children where individual placements can come at a significant cost.

Each placement of a looked after child can cost up to £250,000 a year with the authority also endeavouring to appoint more staff to the department after a damning Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) report last year.

As a result, the council’s general reserves now stand at £6.352m following deduction of last year’s overspend.

Council leader, Cllr Llinos Medi, concluded: “The results of the year highlight the growing financial pressure which the council faces.

“The future for public sector funding still remains uncertain and in particular what impact the decision to leave the European Union will have on the UK economy.

“It is anticipated that the council will experience further reductions in funding from Welsh Government over the next three years and the council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy has identified the continued need to reduce annual revenue expenditure over this period.”

She added, “Having a healthy level of reserves and balances will help in the short-term, but it is not a sustainable source of funding.

“Therefore, the Council is currently reviewing all the services it delivers and looking at alternative methods of delivery which will allow the services to continue but at a lower cost.

“This will include working more in partnership with Town and Community Councils, Community and Voluntary Organisations and Third Sector Organisations.”