Tax West of Scotland Derelict Land to Tackle Housing Crisis
A new report by the Scottish Greens shows that giving West of Scotland Council the power to tax the 4,253 football pitches' worth of vacant and derelict land in the area could generate nearly £59.8 million a year to build affordable homes and tackle the housing crisis, more than anywhere else in Scotland.
The report follows attempts by the Green MSPs in January 2016 to amend the Land Reform Bill so that the near 13,000 hectares of vacant and derelict land in communities across Scotland would be brought into the non-domestic rates system.
This was rejected by the Scottish Government who at the time said they would consult on the proposal but have not yet done so.
Today's report shows that of those 13,000 hectares, almost 9,000 are classed as developable, and could bring in £200million a year for public services such as housing. There are almost 4,000 derelict sites in Scotland, including 782 in Glasgow, 487 in North Lanarkshire, 281 in North Ayrshire, 235 in South Lanarkshire and 223 in Fife. Over half of Scotland's most deprived communities are within 500 metres of vacant and derelict land.
Ireland recently created a Vacant Site Levy, with local councils due to levy charges next year.
Ross Greer, Green MSP for the West of Scotland, commented “I’m well aware that there’s a big need for more good quality affordable housing at the moment, but constant attempts to build on precious greenfield land around North Ayrshire is not the answer. At the same time, the equivalent of over 2000 football pitches lie vacant in North Ayrshire and landowners profit from keeping the land in their own hands.
“Taxing derelict land would help address the need for housing in a way that saves loved and valued Green spaces. It would bring land into use and create income that could be used for council housing. Imagine what nearly £30 million could do for communities across North Ayrshire.”