Like the Senedd in Wales, the Scottish Government should be looking at access to good quality, affordable housing for all, to support stronger local communities.. One way to approach this is to look at second home ownership, and ensure that second home owners make a fair and effective contribution to the communities in which they buy their second homes. This could be ensuring that locals get first refusal to buy homes in their local area or charging a second home tax for people who live outwit the community. There is a housing shortage and house prices in rural areas are unaffordable to local people due to many being bought as second homes that lay vacant for much of the year or end up as holiday lets. We need to have housing for young people in particular without them having to leave the communities they grew up in. In addition to the social advantages, such an initiative would help reduce language decay in Gaelic speaking communities. An uncontrolled housing market will simply result in more property price speculation, buy to lets, empty homes, displaced populations and language decline. Suggestion is to establish criteria for buying a home in a protected area, such are requiring to have gone to school there, having a local job there, creating employment there, studying there or being able to speak Gaelic in order to support the local economy and culture. It will get worse unless we act to make it better. Equivalent rules are already in use in Jersey, Norway and parts of Devon.
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