MSP bemoans ‘dramatic rise’ in number of empty properties in South Lanarkshire
The Scottish Government’s Quarterly Housing Statistics, published this week, revealed that the number of empty properties and second homes in Scotland has increased by 16% from 55,385 in 2007 to 64,017 in 2018.
In South Lanarkshire the number has increased from 963 in 2007 to 1,174 to 2018 – a 22% rise.
Graham Simpson, Scottish Conservative spokesman for housing and planning, welcomed South Lanarkshire Council’s introduction of a 200% council tax on properties that have not been occupied for more than a year – excluding second and holiday homes. This, he argued, will provide an additional £250,000 to fund vital local services.
The proposals followed Mr Simpson’s calls earlier this year for the council to charge double council tax on empty properties - following the example of other councils across Scotland.
Graham Simpson said: “Under the SNP the total number of long term empty properties and second homes has increased from 55,385 in 2007 to 64,017 in 2018. This highlights that bringing empty properties back into use, is of upmost importance.
“Throughout their decade in government the SNP has seen empty properties soar, taking valuable properties out of use. In South Lanarkshire the number of empty properties and second homes has increased by 22 per cent since 2007. This is a record of complacency and inaction.
“For the thousands of people waiting for housing this latest increase in empty properties will feel particularly frustrating. The SNP must introduce a Help to Rebuild scheme which could bring together disparate grant schemes under one easily accessible umbrella programme.
“In addition, the SNP must enable empty business premises to be turned into affordable housing as well as help farmers convert empty buildings into housing. The SNP must take innovative action to tackle this rise in empty properties, help solve the housing crisis and enable more people to realise their dream of having a home.”