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Scottish govt proposes doubling council tax for second homeowners

  • 19/04/2023
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Scottish govt proposes doubling council tax for second homeowners
The Scottish government has launched a consultation over proposals to increase the council tax paid on empty and second homes to “prioritise homes for living in”.

First Minister Humza Yousaf announced the proposals at the Scottish Trades Union Congress on Monday. He suggested that councils could be given the authority to charge up to double the rate on second homes from April 2024. 

This will bring second homes in line with long-term empty homes. Currently, a default discount of 50 per cent is applied to second and empty homes and councils are able to reduce the discount. A 100 per cent premium can be applied to homes which have been empty for more than 12 months, effectively doubling the rate. 

The consultation will run for seven weeks and is in conjunction with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA). 

It will also consider the possibility of charging more than double rates on both empty and second homes in the future. 

At the moment, a property in Scotland is currently considered self-catered accommodation if it is let for a total of 70 nights and available to let for 140 nights in a financial year, making it liable for non-domestic rates.  

The consolation will seek views on changing the definition of this. 


‘We want everyone to have an affordable home’

First Minister Yousaf said: “We want everyone in Scotland to have an affordable home that meets their needs and this work to improve the availability of sustainable long-term housing opportunities is a core part of that. 

“By recognising the important role councils have in considering local needs, these proposals aim to strike a balance between good housing supply and helping communities to thrive and benefit from tourism. 

“I encourage anyone who is interested to respond to the consultation as we try to prioritise homes for living in, seeking a fair contribution to local services from everyone and recognising the benefits to local economies from self-catering accommodation and second homes. 

“All responses will be carefully considered before legislation is introduced to the Scottish Parliament.” 

Katie Hagmaan, resources spokesperson councillor at COSLA, added: “Local government in Scotland is committed to supporting access for everyone in Scotland to an affordable home. 

“That is why we are pleased to be launching this joint consultation, as we work to meet the shared aim of creating the right balance to increase the availability of housing and a taxation system that is fair for the tourism industry. 

“We also welcome the greater fiscal empowerment for councils to reflect local circumstances this would introduce. Any additional funding created by these changes under consultation will enable councils to invest in local needs and support sustainable communities. 

“We are pleased to be jointly working with the Scottish government on this vital area of work and we look forward to considering the responses.” 

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