Anne McTaggart MSP Backs New Powers to Tackle Dangerous Buildings

Glasgow MSP Anne McTaggart has backed David Stewart MSPs Buildings (Recovery of Expenses) (Scotland) Bill, which yesterday passed Stage 3 at the Scottish Parliament. It is the first Opposition Member’s Bill passed this session and received unanimous support by all parties in the Parliament. The Bill will provide Local Authorities with much needed extra powers to re-coup their costs when dealing with defective and dangerous buildings.

The Bill reintroduces charging orders which will enable Local Authorities to recover their costs in a more efficient and cost effective manner.

Ms McTaggart, who spoke at the Stage 3 Debate of the Bill at the Scottish Parliament yesterday, said “This is a positive Bill which will help struggling Local Authorities re-coup their costs of dealing with various building standard Issues. It is estimated that only that only 50% of debts are recovered and that currently there could be over £3.9 million outstanding.

Dangerous and defective buildings are a real problem across Scotland, with up to 81% of dwellings in need of some kind of repair.  In my area of Glasgow 407 Dangerous Building notices were issued in 2011-2012. These are not just unsafe to the public, they are an eyesore; they can have a detrimental effect on the surrounding area by driving down house prices on a street or making town centres seem unwelcoming.”

Speaking yesterday in the Scottish Parliament, David Stewart MSP saidI am delighted that my Bill passed stage three with support across the chamber, and this is the culmination of 4 years hard work.” 

During its passing through Parliament and during the evidence session in the Local Government and Regeneration Committee it was clear that this measure had widespread support from Local Authorities and the wider building sector. It is a testament to what can be achieved when ordinary Members and the government work co-operatively. 

Too many buildings have been allowed to drift into disrepair and need urgent remedy. It is, of course, the owners’ responsibility to repair buildings. My Bill aims to enable councils to carry out desperately needed repairs whilst shifting the financial burden back to the owners themselves. 

I am optimistic that that Local Authorities will proactively use this new power to ensure they will not be out of pocket when stepping in to deal with building standards issues.  This will mean they will feel more confident in carrying out repairs, hopefully leading to less repairs being delayed, scaled back or even cancelled due to concerns over cost recovery. Indirectly, it will hopefully also stimulate the repair and maintenance sector of the construction industry as more repairs will be carried out.”

You can read the Ms McTaggart’s speech here.

Watch Ms McTaggart’s speech from 1hr 8mins below.

Please find Local Government and Regeneration Committee report:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/69658.aspx

Future information on Bill:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/46078.aspx

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