Andy Wightman MSP backs #FarFromFixed homelessness campaign with tax on derelict land

Scottish Greens support homelessness campaign and challenge Scottish government to be bolder on reform, land and housing  

ANDY WIGHTMAN MSP, the housing spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today backed the call from the housing charity Shelter for bolder and greater coordinated action to tackle the levels of homelessness described by the charity’s director as a "national badge of shame".

He also stated that a tax on Scotland's 11,000 hectares of vacant and derelict land would raise millions to tackle the crisis of homelessness. 

The party was responding to the launch of the new Shelter Scotland campaign covered by CommonSpace, which featured a YouGov poll commissioned by the charity showing that 54 per cent of Scots believe the government "could do more" to address the problem.

"We can build more houses, to a higher quality, if we give councils the power to buy land at existing use value rather than allowing developers to inflate the price." Andy Wightman

Andy Wightman MSP, said: "Scottish Greens fully support Shelter’s campaign and have long called for Scotland’s housing crisis to be taken seriously by Scottish Ministers. Homelessness can happen to anyone.

"Over the past decade we’ve seen house prices and rental costs rocketing, pushing hundreds of thousands of Scots into desperate situations.

"We need more homes and we need affordable homes. It is vital that Scottish Ministers take responsibility rather than leaving the rate of housebuilding to profit-driven developers. 

"We can build more houses, to a higher quality, if we give councils the power to buy land at existing use value rather than allowing developers to inflate the price. And we can tax Scotland’s 11,000 hectares of vacant and derelict land to raise millions to tackle this crisis.

"In this session of Parliament there is no question that housing must be a priority, backed with action and substantial investment. The Green MSPs will work with others to make it happen."

"We can tax Scotland’s 11,000 hectares of vacant and derelict land to raise millions to tackle this crisis." Andy Wightman

According to Wightman’s previous research the shortage of homes in the UK has been "artificially created by a poorly functioning property market."

The logic of the derelict tax is that as in other European countries such as Germany and Denmark, the Government should use taxation to change incentives within the property market, ensuring that people are incentivised to use land productively, rather than for lucrative capital gains.

The Scottish Green party will relaunch its campaign for independence during the conference season which previously featured policy ideas such as the replacement of council tax and national non-domestic rates with a land value tax. 

Picture courtesy of Simon Varwell

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Comments

davemaci

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 16:49

As a Glaswegian I couldn't argue with of the above, I can think of sites here in the city centre that have lain derelict my entire life. This is the reason I gave my second vote to the Greens last election. It seems to be one of these political topics that every party - other than the Tories - espouses oh-so-sincerely, but when confronted with the power to actually do something become inexplicably cautious. Instead they prefer to spend billions on Help to Buy schemes and Housing Benefit or some new god-awful housing estate. Anything but control land/property prices. I'll keep hoping that the Greens are different.
The thing that really shocks me though is that only 54% thought the government could do more about the problem. I'd love to know exactly how the other 46% came to think the property market is functioning just fine. They can't all be buy-to-let landlords.

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