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Scottish Building Safety Levy Consultation

Overview —

A Common Weal response to the joint Scottish and UK Government Consultation on devolving the Building Safety Levy.

Credits—

Common Weal

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The UK Government has proposed devolving a new tax power to the Scottish Government. This power would allow Scottish Local Authorities to levy a tax on newly built homes to fund repairs to buildings that were constructed below minimum safety standards.

While Common Weal welcomes all proposals to devolve powers to Scotland and we welcome as many of those powers being held as locally as possible, we believe that this particular tax will be risky and highly detrimental as it will place the financial burden of meeting legal safety standards on Local Authorities and the Scottish Government instead of the developers who have breached those standards by constructing unsafe homes. Developers should fund the system of inspections required to prevent unsafe homes and should bear full liability for breaching minimum standards.

The UK and Scottish Governments believe that having a harmonised tax on both sides of the border will protect the “single UK market in house building” but the financial strictures of devolution mean that the opposite is true as the Scottish Government is far less able to bail out Local Authorities who suffer financially due to this tax being insufficient to pay to correct safety breaches than the UK Government is able to bail out English local councils who suffer from the same problem.

In short, we support the devolution of the power to create this Levy. We shall campaign to ensure that the power is never used in Scotland.

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