Almost 67,000 properties unoccupied across Scotland

Almost 67,000 properties unoccupied across Scotland

Almost 67,000 properties in Scotland are unoccupied, according to new figures collected by the Scottish Conservative Party.

Responses from 30 local authorities to Scottish Conservative Freedom of Information requests reveal there are currently 66,802 unoccupied properties across Scotland.

The vast majority of these – 55,477 – are domestic properties, while the remaining 10,309 are non-domestic.

Edinburgh was the council area with the highest volume of unoccupied buildings – 9,285.

The Scottish Conservatives backed compulsory sale orders for long-term unoccupied properties in their manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.

The party has pinsisted the number of unoccupied buildings is unacceptable at a time when the SNP government have failed to meet their own house-building targets and many people are struggling to get on the housing ladder or find rented accommodation.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government Miles Briggs MSP said: “The SNP’s record on housebuilding is disgraceful – and these shocking figures just add to the charge sheet against ministers.

“It’s unacceptable that – at a time when there is a chronic lack of homes across Scotland – tens of thousands of homes lie empty, in many cases derelict.

“It’s appalling that viable housing stock is being wasted and neglected in this way.

“This is why the Scottish Conservatives would support compulsory sale orders for long-term unoccupied properties, and why we have proposed relaxing planning laws to allow for the conversion of unoccupied business buildings into accommodation.

“If they are ever to sort the housing crisis they have created, the SNP must follow suit, as well as committing to the ambitious housing targets that the Scottish Conservatives have repeatedly called for.”

A spokesman for the government said: “Local authorities have broad compulsory purchase powers, which are being used to tackle empty homes and, where possible, return them to use as warm, safe and secure housing.

“In addition, 8,259 long-term empty homes have been brought back into use since 2010 through support from the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, funded by the Scottish Government.

“We are taking forward work to modernise the compulsory purchase process to make it clearer, fairer and faster, including consideration of compulsory sales orders.”

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