Jean Miles (‘No justification for tax hike’, Letters, 14 January) sees no justification for councils increasing charges for those fortunate to own second homes in Gwynedd.
I think few people, whatever their political persuasion, would argue against the corrosive and debilitating effect of second home ownership on rural communities.It is not a problem unique to Gwynedd of course.The same complaint from local people locked out of home ownership in their own communities affects towns and villages from Cornwall to the Lake District.
It is in fact a global issue and connected to a capitalist system that values acquisitiveness above notions of community, quality of life and cultural identity.
She claims that these visitors actually enrich the local economy.Well in my experience, many second-home owners bring most of what they require with them, and even if they do buy locally does Mrs Miles really think that giant corporations like Tesco and Asda actually reinvest this money in the local economy?
The truth is that any small economic benefit second homeowners may bring to the area is outweighed by the massive negative effect on local property prices, the withering of local shops and services and the fact that the premises are vacant for the majority of the year.
I have no problem with people coming to live in Gwynedd inward migration is something to be encouraged. Our towns and villages need young people.Likewise I have no problem with people renting homes as holiday accommodation, this is a beautiful area and the income generated from tourism is significant.But we do need to encourage sensitivity and awareness of the particular cultural riches of our area. The Welsh language is a cultural jewel that must be protected.
We owe it to future generations to protect the unique cultural identity of this area and if, as a first step that means increasing council tax on second homeowners, I for one am all for it.
We would do well to heed an old Welsh saying: Cenedl hebiaith, cenedl heb galon .
Richard Morgan Llanfachreth