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Scottish Labour candidate Michael Perera says the party wants to help councils repurpose homes and sell them to people for just £1


By Scott Maclennan

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Labour candidate Michael Perera says the party wants to repurpose empty homes and sell them on for £1.
Labour candidate Michael Perera says the party wants to repurpose empty homes and sell them on for £1.

Scottish Labour candidate for Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire, Michael Perera, launched a stinging attack on the SNP over what he believes are failed housing policies that have led to “untold misery for thousands.”

Mr Perera is challenging the former Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry of the SNP for the new seat created after a major boundary change in the last year.

Today, he attacked the SNP’s record on housing saying the party, which has been in government in Scotland for 17 years, while saying that Labour has the answer to these issues.

Labour, he said, would establish a council tax escalator and a £1 homes scheme so councils can repurpose empty residences to sell them on for just £1 to people committed to living locally.

The party would also relaunch the Mortgage to Equity scheme to help those faced with rising interest rates as well as building 1.5 million new homes across the UK with a “gold standard of 40 per cent affordable housing in new developments.”

“The lack of suitable housing is a significant barrier for those who want to live and work in our region,” he said. “The housing crisis is affecting all sectors and is a national scandal: 693,000 Scottish households are facing at least one form of housing need, 9000 children are living in temporary accommodation.

“Here in the Highlands, homeless applications have risen by 21 per cent in a year; there are close to 7000 second homes, and over 4000 long-term empty homes.

“The growth of second homes and holiday lets has undoubtedly exacerbated matters. Having homes empty for large parts of the year is a real kick in the teeth for those who are needing their own place. This crisis must be addressed.

“The SNP’s policies have led to untold misery for thousands. They have cut £200 million from the Affordable Housing Supply Programme, have done nothing on rents, and have failed to prevent homelessness. Several councils have declared housing emergencies.

“Scottish Labour recognises this is a serious problem. Good quality housing is key to sustainable and thriving communities. We would create a 100 per cent council tax surcharge on second homes.

“We want a council tax escalator and a £1 homes scheme so councils can repurpose empty residences, and sell them for just £1 to people committed to living locally. We support rent controls to help tenants.

“We will relaunch the Mortgage to Equity scheme to help those faced with rising mortgage costs. We plan to build 1.5 million new homes across the UK, and will set a gold standard of 40 per cent affordable housing in new developments.

“These are realistic and necessary commitments. In the Highlands and Islands, warm, safe, affordable housing is central to sustaining communities. Scottish Labour understands the problem and will tackle it.”



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