Housing and Economic Wellbeing (Income and Employment)

Housing is essential to allow employees to move to areas where jobs exist. Investment in housing also generates substantial employment, both in the construction sector and in associated transactions-related and service jobs. Housing is also critical to household income; housing which is 'affordable' – that which does not present an excessive burden on household income – reduces the risk of poverty and financial hardship.

Recommendations

  1. 17

    The Scottish Government should develop an improved property tax to replace the Council Tax in Scotland. Properties would be re-valued at least every three years using an agreed formula.

  2. 18

    The UK Government or Scottish Government (depending on whether it is to be a national or local tax) should introduce a regularly re-valued land valuation tax, with further work being carried out to investigate whether it should be organised as a national tax or as a local alternative to the Council Tax.

  3. 19

    Further research should be undertaken to examine ways of helping low-income households caught by any new property tax, including 'asset rich, cash poor' households.

  4. 20

    The proposals of the RICS Commission and the Land Reform Review Group for a Scottish Land Corporation or Delivery Agency with powers to acquire, service and sell land on to developers should be carried forward.

  5. 21

    The proposals of the Land Reform Review Group for legislation to allow for compulsory selling orders, majority land assembly and land readjustment should be carried forward.

  6. 22

    The proposals of the RICS Commission for improving the performance of planning authorities - including increasing the effective supply of land from five to ten years' supply of land, improving the training for planners and reviewing existing consents - should be implemented.

  7. 23

    Local authorities and other public bodies should be encouraged and incentivised to release surplus land for housing developments.

  8. 24

    If the Smith Commission proposals are implemented, the Scottish Government should - as soon as practicable following enabling legislation - permanently end the 'bedroom tax'.

  9. 25

    Given concerns by landlords over the impact of any abrupt change to current arrangements for direct payment of Housing Benefit, tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit should also have the choice over whether or not to continue with direct payments.

  10. 26

    Serious consideration should be given to practical ways to shift the balance from personal subsidies towards funding subsidies that support the supply of houses. Any changes should be implemented in such a way as to minimise any negative impacts on those in receipt of Housing Benefit.

  11. 27

    The Scottish and UK Governments should jointly undertake a detailed exploration of options for long-term reform of ways of helping low-income households with their housing costs.


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