Date lodged: 18 January 2017
To ask the Scottish Government how it can work with Edinburgh City Council to bring the reported 5,000 empty homes in the city back into use in order to tackle housing shortages.
Answered by: Kevin Stewart 31 January 2017
The Scottish Government supports the work of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, which in turn provides support and advice to local authorities across Scotland on dealing with empty homes. This includes support for Empty Homes Officers, one of whom works for the City Council, who are dedicated to identifying, tackling and returning empty homes to good use.
Ministers also provided additional powers in 2013 for local authorities to reduce discounts and to apply an additional levy to council tax liabilities for long-term empty properties where they consider it an appropriate tool to encourage homes back into use in their areas. Although not intended to provide funds (instead to encourage better use of homes), councils may use funds raised as a result to tackle empty homes or for other priorities.