Support surge for Green plan to tax vacant land ahead of Land Reform debate

Andy Wightman
Andy Wightman

A Scottish Green party petition to bring Scotland’s derelict and vacant land back in use for housebuilding has gathered over 1,300 signatures in just one week.

The petition was launched to demonstrate public support for a Green amendment to the Land Reform Bill, due to be considered by the rural affairs, climate change and environment committee later today.

The amendment calls for Scotland’s 11,000 hectares of vacant and derelict land to be included into the valuation system so it can be taxed, with the resulting revenue ring fenced for housebuilding, a move the Scottish Greens suggest could yield around £300 million a year.

For the past week, campaigners and Green MSP candidates have taken pictures holding a sign with the campaign slogan ‘This Could Be Home’ on vacant and derelict land near them.

Scottish Green communities spokesperson, Andy Wightman, called on MSPs to ensure the Land Reform Bill is “meaningful for Scotland’s communities” by supporting the Green amendment.

Mr Wightman said: “When there is a lack of affordable housing, a shortage of space in urban areas and mounting financial pressure on public services, it’s bizarre that wealthy developers and land owners can leave assets sitting unused for decades without having to pay a penny of tax. By valuing and taxing vacant and derelict land, we could encourage it to be put back in use and raise revenue for housebuilding projects.

“Over half of Scotland’s most deprived communities are within 500 metres of vacant and derelict land - so there is huge potential to build in areas where development and regeneration are needed most. Making use of derelict and vacant land would also ease the pressure to build on green space valued by communities.

“The strong public support for the Green proposal shows there is real demand for bold land reform. I urge MSPs to make this bill meaningful for Scotland’s’ communities, support the Green amendment and end the scourge of vacant and derelict land.”

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