‘Tax on derelict land could raise £200m annually for public services, Scottish Greens claim’ SNP can and should embrace this constructive comment from allies


(c) scottishhousingnews.com

I’ve just left the Insider magazine headline as it was. Can’t really improve on it. I know the Greens are not always as disciplined as I’d like re supporting the movement but they are in principle independence supporting so credit to them for this idea and I hope the SNP are ‘man enough’ to embrace it. According to their research published by the sturdy Andy Wightman:

  • there are 12,763 hectares of vacant land north of the Border
  • 69% could be developed
  • Bottom of Form
  • Top of Form
  • Bottom of Form
  • a tax on vacant land in Scotland could raise £200m a year for public services
  • Glasgow has 782 derelict sites, North Lanarkshire 487, North Ayrshire 281 and Edinburgh, where house prices are the highest of any Scottish city, 76
  • in 2016, 30% of Scotland’s population lived within 500 metres of a derelict site.
  • that rose to 59 per cent for those in the most deprived areas
  • bringing such sites into the non-domestic rates system could raise cash to build affordable homes and tackle the housing crisis

Wightman said:

‘The Scottish Government , in rejecting bolder land reform legislation last year, promised to consult on the taxation of derelict and vacant land and I hope this paper brings that forward.  Given the lack of affordable housing and continuing financial pressures on public services, it’s unacceptable that landowners can profit from withholding land suitable for housing. There is growing political consensus in Scotland that we need big changes to tackle the housing crisis, so let’s not be timid when it comes to giving local councils the power to tax vacant and derelict land.’

That looks like good constructive criticism the SNP should and can take heed of.


To see a comprehensive list, see:



5 thoughts on “‘Tax on derelict land could raise £200m annually for public services, Scottish Greens claim’ SNP can and should embrace this constructive comment from allies

  1. Bugger (the Panda) September 20, 2017 / 12:25 pm

    How much of the derelict land is awaiting planning permission, or working its way through?

    The Rangers ex proprietor David Murray, took out options on the land which later became the Gyle and surroundings. Who pays that, if it is held in abeyance for future planning permission.

    I am sure these problems are solvable but expect lots of wriggling about from these money men?


    • johnrobertson834 September 20, 2017 / 4:03 pm

      Needless to say I don’t know but the SG can get the best lawyers and accountants to squeeze them all.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ludo Thierry September 20, 2017 / 2:32 pm

    Hi M. le Panda.Yes – I suspect you’ve put your finger on something there.

    I suspect this type of legislationiould be (rightly) welcomed right across the Indy movement. It would have been helpful for Andy W and the Scottish Greens to put a ‘proper’ plan together. Andy has produced a nice 9 page leaflet with glossy pictures and 2 ‘case studies’ of a few paragraphs each. Frankly that is not even worthy of a submission to a consultation. (Good idea though it is).

    The Scottish Govt have committed to a consultation on this topic and it is to be hoped that Andy W has a proper bit of worked up material to put forward. (all very well calling for the Scottish Govt to have a worked up plan immediately – but the Scottish Govt are trying to work up ideas across swathes of policy areas – so prioritisation, necessarily, becomes a factor.)

    The Republic of Ireland have passed legislation and a Vacant Land Levy is due to come into play fairly soon (I can’t recall if it is 2018 or the begining of 2019). The Irish authorities started looking seriously at this following the last economic crash when they saw the massive ‘land-banking’ activities that had just (immediately and totally) ground to a halt but were still being held onto – ie vacant land held – but not moved on to the next phase (as the developers had lost their money) – The system is being badly clogged up still today.

    The Irish Govt have taken a good few years to work up this new legislation and are just getting to the point of getting it active. Hopefully Scotland can look at the Irish legislation and find a template to adapt to local circumstances. This will save time and effort in working up proposals.

    There are lots of great ideas out there to improve governance and Scotland’s public finances. If, however, Andy and the Scorttish Greens want to be taken as significant ‘players’ then a wee bit more ‘elbow grease’ in the preparation of proposals might not go astray.

    Thanks, Ludo (swigging down my cup of cold coffee)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Robert Andrew September 26, 2017 / 9:29 am

    There’s some sort iof snafoo with the list; “Bottom of form, Top of Form, Bottom of form.” Things missing?


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