Second homes could soon be charged at double the full rate of council tax under new plans by the Scottish Government and COSLA. First Minister Humza Yousaf announced the proposals on Monday in a bid to increase housing availability across Scotland.

The news is welcomed by the Scottish Green Party who believe the policy will help fulfill the housing commitments set out in the Bute House agreement between the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Government. This follows a recent increase in the tax paid on the purchase of second and holiday homes.
The UK government’s wish is to enable everyone in Scotland to have affordable housing that meets their needs.

The Prime Minister recalled that this work to improve the availability of long-term sustainable housing opportunities is an essential part of this.
For his part, Scottish Greens finance spokesman Ross Greer MSP said the houses are not for hoarding but rather for living.

“Everyone should have access to affordable, quality housing. Yet all over Scotland, particularly in rural communities, there are some very good homes which are empty for most of the year as holiday homes. At the same time, thousands of families are being put on waiting lists for housing and young people are being forced out of the communities they grew up in due to a lack of affordable housing,”

he laments.

Mr. Ross Greer clarified that these housing tax plans are accompanied by other crucial measures that the Green Party had already introduced, such as the increased tax on the initial purchase of second and holiday homes.

“Not only will they raise vital funds to support public services during the cost of living crisis, but they will collectively act as a disincentive on second home ownership and free up more homes for those who really need them, ”

he said.

The proposed change would align second homes with long-term empty homes from next year. The joint consultation with COSLA will also seek advice on new powers to charge more than double the rate on empty and second homes in coming years.

The latest figures show that in January 2023 there were 42,865 empty long-term homes in Scotland.

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