Anne McTaggart MSP has called for a halt to the planned increase on council tax and empty property rates for currently unoccupied buildings, in a debate at the Scottish Parliament last week.
The SNP Scottish Government plans to increase the rates payable by owners of unoccupied buildings from 50% to 90% of the charge for fully occupied properties. Anne called for publicly-owned buildings to be exempt from this measure in order to avoid further pressure on our vital public services.
Ms McTaggart said: “Public bodies are already struggling to meet the increasing demands of those they work to support, alongside shrinking budgets and scarce resources. Asking public bodies to fund this substantial jump in the rates payable is clearly detrimental to our public services and obstructs the long term planning of currently unoccupied estates. Public bodies should not be forced to sell buildings to private developers or demolish them to avoid this arbitrary increase in the rates payable”.
Anne also asked the Scottish Government to reconsider their plans to double the amount of council tax payable on unoccupied residential properties.
The Glasgow MSP said;“Many families could find themselves with an empty property as a result of an inheritance that was unforeseen, or because they cannot sell their homes in an increasingly difficult property market.
“To ask people in this situation to pay twice the amount of council tax as they may have anticipated is not just irresponsible, it is plainly wrong. The Scottish Government will potentially force Scottish families into negative equity as a result of these measures and the subsequent pressure to sell their home as quickly as possible”.