Higher priority needs to be given to tackling private sector empty homes, top Green Holyrood candidate, Alison Johnstone has warned.
Speaking at Built Environment Forum Scotland election hustings in Edinburgh tonight (27 April) Ms Johnstone will draw attention to the 25,000 long term private empty homes in Scotland, including 2,500 here in Edinburgh, and say that much more needs to be done to bring them back into use.
“Over the last year Shelter’s Scottish Empty Homes Partnership has done a great job in highlighting ways in which empty property can be brought into use. But practice here in Scotland is years behind where it is in England and Wales.
“Empty homes are a blight on neighbourhoods, a magnet for vandalism and a damning indictment on a Scotland where 160,000 people are on council house waiting lists.
“That’s why we need policies like Land Value Tax which would penalize homes lying empty for too long. Greens will also look at schemes like loan funds to help owners bring property into good condition and at the powers that councils have to deal with that minority of owners who let property go to rack and ruin.
“Back in January I criticized the City Council here in Edinburgh for lacking the will to do anything about the problem. I see no evidence that attitudes have changed.”