First Minister Humza Yousaf announced proposals this week at the Scottish Trades Union Congress which could give councils powers to charge up to double the full rate of council tax on second homes from next April.
The proposed change would bring second homes into line with long-term empty homes. The joint consultation with COSLA will also seek views on further powers to charge more than double rate on both empty and second homes in future years. Latest figures show that in January there were 42,865 long-term empty homes in Scotland. The consultation also seeks views on whether there should be changes to the definition of when a property offering self-catered accommodation becomes liable for non-domestic rates.
Graeme Dey, Angus South MSP, said: “The Scottish Government are determined to make housing more affordable and accessible. That’s why they are giving councils the power to raise council tax on long-term empty and second homes. I encourage those throughout Angus to participate in consultation. “
Mr Yousaf said: “By recognising the important role councils have in considering local needs, these proposals aim to strike a balance between good housing supply and helping communities to thrive and benefit from tourism.”
“I encourage anyone who is interested to respond to the consultation as we try to prioritise homes for living in, seeking a fair contribution to local services from everyone and recognising the benefits to local economies from self-catering accommodation and second homes.
“All responses will be carefully considered before legislation is introduced to the Scottish Parliament.”
COSLA Resources Spokesperson Councillor Katie Hagmaan added: “Local government in Scotland is committed to supporting access for everyone in Scotland to an affordable home.
“That is why we are pleased to be launching this joint consultation, as we work to meet the shared aim of creating the right balance to increase the availability of housing and a taxation system that is fair for the tourism industry.
“We also welcome the greater fiscal empowerment for councils to reflect local circumstances this would introduce. Any additional funding created by these changes under consultation will enable councils to invest in local needs and support sustainable communities.
“We are pleased to be jointly working with the Scottish Government on this vital area of work and we look forward to considering the responses.”