Magazine article Public Finance

MSPs Criticise Rural Housing Policy

Magazine article Public Finance

MSPs Criticise Rural Housing Policy

Article excerpt

An overcautious approach to planning is preventing the provision of much-needed housing in Scotland's rural areas, MSPs have warned.

Members of the Scottish Parliament s rural affairs and environment committee called for a challenge to the widespread view that rural areas should not be built on.

It proposed a range of measures to ease the position. These included giving local authorities powers to increase council tax rates on second homes in rural areas to levels above the standard rate for privately owned houses.

In a report published on May 7, the committee found that there was 'an overcautious planning culture in much of rural Scotland that has effectively entrenched a presumption against development, including housing development in many areas'.

The report follows an inquiry by the MSPs into obstacles stopping people in rural Scotland from finding affordable housing to rent or buy.

A committee spokesman said members believed the planning system was burdened by a centuries-old belief that the countryside should be protected from development' and that this was exacerbating a serious shortage of housing in rural areas. …

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