Greens Urge Action On Second Homes in Arran and Cumbrae

A new report published by the Scottish Greens has revealed over one-in-three houses in Cumbrae and over one-in-five houses on Arran are second homes. The Scottish Government needs to play catch-up on the worsening problem of second homes if it is to tackle the housing crisis, according to Green MSP for the West of Scotland, Ross Greer.

On Arran, 629 of 2744 dwellings (22.9%) are second homes, with the highest concentration being 29% in the area around Lamlash
In Cumbrae there are 492 second homes, out of a total of 1327 dwellings in total (37.1%). In the zone covering the centre of Millport, 341 out of 796 homes are second homes (42.8%), the highest number for any zone in Scotland.

The Scottish Greens are calling for an overhaul of housing laws to allow councils to control the spread of second homes by making them subject to change of use orders. They also want a tax loophole closed that allows owners of second homes to avoid paying council tax by listing their property as a business.

Ross Greer said: "Second homes are becoming a big problem in Arran and Cumbrae, denying local people, particularly young people access to affordable, good quality housing and inflating house prices beyond the reach of many families. This in turn makes it harder to maintain the local services we all rely on as second homes often avoid paying council tax, despite using many of the same services as everyone else. If we continue this trend, islands such as these will lose the very heart and soul that make them such popular destinations in the first place.

"The recent changes to tax rules mean that many of the owners of these properties are no longer paying either council tax or non-domestic rates on their homes, denying North Ayrshire Council hundreds of thousands of pounds each year which could help offset some of the worst effects of the resulting housing shortage, both on the island and the mainland.

The Scottish Greens' proposed overhaul of housing legislation would deliver the fresh energy and new powers needed to tackle Scotland's housing crisis. I hope the SNP read this report and our recommendations carefully."