The Scottish Government has announced that it is considering plans to allow local authorities to introduce a council tax premium on second homes.
As part of the Programme for Government, this plan was met with majority support as it went through a consultation process, in partnership with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA). This plan, if approved, would allow local authorities to charge a council tax premium on second homes that are not used as a main residence, bringing them in line with long-term empty homes.
Tom Arthur, Public Finance Minister, said:
“We want everyone in Scotland to have a home that meets their needs. We know second homes can sometimes benefit local communities, but they can also restrict the availability of housing and increase costs for people who want to rent or buy.
“Subject to approval by Parliament, this legislation aims to prioritise housing for living in by allowing local authorities to charge a Council Tax premium on second homes. Backed by a majority of respondents to our joint consultation with COSLA, it will enable councils to seek a fair contribution towards local services from second-home owners.”
There is currently a 50% default on council tax for second homes in Scotland, however many local authorities are charging the full rate for second-home owners.
If the new premium was to be approved by the Scottish Parliament, it would come into effect from 1st April 2024.
Resources Spokesperson for COSLA, Cllr Katie Hagmann, added:
“Subject to Parliamentary approval, COSLA very much welcomes the ability for councils to take the decision to increase the premium on second homes in their areas. Allowing the politicians who are closest to their communities to take decisions about what best suits local needs and circumstances is well aligned to the Verity House Agreement.”
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