PROPOSALS which would see council tax doubling for second homes have been welcomed by a Fife MSP.

The Scottish Government want to enable councils to charge up to double the full rate of council tax on second homes from April next year to bring them in line with long-term empty homes.

Mark Ruskell, who represents the Scottish Greens, welcomed the plans which follow a recent increase in the tax paid on the purchase of second and holiday homes.

“Homes are for living in, not for hoarding. Everyone should have access to good quality and affordable housing," he said. "Yet, in Fife there are 2,374 perfectly good houses sitting empty for most of the year.

"This is at the same time as families are stuck on housing waiting lists and young people are being forced to leave the community they have grown up in due to a lack of affordable homes.

“These Council Tax plans sit alongside other crucial measures that we have already delivered, like the increased tax on the initial purchase of second and holiday homes.

“Not only will they raise vital funds to support public services during the cost of living crisis, they will collectively act as a disincentive on second home ownership and free up more homes in Fife for those who really need them.

“With this kind of bold action, we can tackle the broken housing market, make it easier for younger people in particular to buy their first home and help communities like Fife to thrive.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf has said the purpose of the plan – which will be consulted on before any legislation is brought forward – was to increase housing availability.

“We want everyone in Scotland to have an affordable home that meets their needs and this work to improve the availability of sustainable long-term housing opportunities is a core part of that," he said.

“By recognising the important role councils have in considering local needs, these proposals aim to strike a balance between good housing supply and helping communities to thrive and benefit from tourism.”