Greens hail plan to put homes to use

South of Scotland Greens, Sarah Beattie Smith

South of Scotland Greens, Sarah Beattie Smith

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The Scottish Green Party have welcomed the news that Scottish Borders Council are considering measures to bring hundreds of empty properties across the region back into use.

Lead MSP candidate for South of Scotland, Sarah Beattie-Smith, commented on the news that Scottish Borders Council is considering increasing council tax on properties that have been empty for two or more years.

There are approximately 36,000 empty homes in Scotland and over 1,300 in the Scottish Borders. Since 2013, councils have had the power to vary council tax on empty properties to encourage their use.

With Scotland facing a housing shortage, Beattie-Smith stressed that putting empty homes back into use was ‘the responsible’ thing to do. It is estimated that the change could raise an additional £900,000 in revenue. Better housing and bold land reform are two of the Scottish Greens’ key pledges for the Holyrood election in this May.

Sarah Beattie-Smith said: “It’s baffling that thousands of perfectly decent homes sit empty while people struggle to get a roof over their heads. Letting these properties stay unused is a huge waste - but by getting them back on the market, they could really help ease Scotland’s housing crisis.”