SNP MSP Emma Roddick has questioned the Scottish Government on when her party’s manifesto commitment to devolve powers to local authorities to manage high numbers of second homes would be progressed.
Commenting on the importance of this policy, she said:
“I was elected last year on the strength of an SNP manifesto which promised a fairer Scotland. A huge part of that is addressing housing inequalities, an effort which has to include tackling high number of second home ownership.
“This is particularly important in rural and island communities, where we cannot separate the issue of depopulation from high housing costs and low availability, in part due to many homes lying empty for most of the year.
“I am glad to get the reassurance from the Cabinet Secretary for Housing that this policy, alongside consideration of stronger council taxation measures for this type of home ownership, are still on the Scottish Government’s agenda.”
In her response, the Cabinet Secretary recognised the work already carried out by the Highlands and Islands MSP in raising issues around second homes and holiday lets impacting on housing availability. Roddick, who has been homeless in the past, previously worked on the SNP’s Social Justice and Fairness Commission’s housing paper and has consistently raised issues caused by the proliferation of short-term lets and second homes in her region of the Highlands and Islands since her election last May.