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End to Automatic Council Tax Discount for Second Homes

The Scottish Government has laid legislation in Parliament that will remove the automatic council tax discount for second homes.

The change, which is due to take effect from April next year, will give councils the option of offering no discount for second homes, arming them with another lever to encourage better use of housing stock in their areas. According to the Government, if all councils were to remove discounts they could generate up to £3 million of additional revenue across the country.

“Giving everyone access to a good quality, affordable home is a priority for this Government,” explained Finance Secretary Derek Mackay. “And part of that is making sure we use all the housing we currently have.”

“The change to council tax on second homes will give local authorities an additional tool to support housing markets within their area, particularly if they have a problem where second homes are lying empty,” he added. “It could also generate up to £3 million for councils to invest in their local public services.”

The Government had announced its intention to legislate in this area in March this year, when it outlined a series of reforms to council tax in Scotland.

Other reforms included adjusting the rates paid by those in the four highest council tax bands (E, F, G and H), which the Government said will generate £100 million a year.

Under the proposals, which are also due to come into effect next April, the average band E household will pay around £2 per week more and the average household in the highest band will pay around £10 a week more. Those households living in bands A to D will be unaffected by the change.

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