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Live Reporting

By Andrew Southwick and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all folks on the day Holyrood passed the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill

    Child poverty

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Wednesday 8 November 2017, a day when MSPs passed a Bill containing a series of new targets for the reduction of child poverty in Scotland.

    The Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill sets out four statutory goals which the government is expected to hit by 2030.

    It was brought forward in response to the repeal of sections of the UK Child Poverty Act, to reinstate the use of a set of income-based targets.

    Equalities Secretary Angela Constance called the bill a "historic milestone" in the fight against poverty.

    After a series of amendments were agreed, MSPs unanimously agreed to pass the bill, with the vote finishing 115 to nil.

    We're back from 9am tomorrow morning as the Public Audit Committee takes evidence on NHS workforce planning.

  2. 'The increase in the use of short-term lets is a direct result of our thriving tourism industry'

    Kevin Stewart

    Minister for Local Government and Housing Kevin Stewart says: "Local authorities have the responsibility to respond to their residents.

    "I would ask Edinburgh City Council what they are doing in this regard."

  3. 'We must be aware of the downsides of short term lets'

    Local Government and Housing Minister Kevin Stewart
    Image caption: Local Government and Housing Minister Kevin Stewart

    Local Government and Housing Minister Kevin Stewart says there has been a rise in online platforms making it much easier for people to market their accommodation.

    Mr Stewart says: "We must be aware of the downsides of short term lets."

    He says they can give rise to concerns through anti-social behaviour and loss of a sense of community.

    The minister says local authorities already have quite comprehensive powers to deal with anti-social behaviour and noise abuse and he expects them to use them.

  4. 'I will do anything I can do to support Andy Wightman's proposal'

    Labour MSP Kezie Dugdale

    Labour MSP Kezie Dugdale aims her comments at the members who have asked for more data or evidence on the proposal.

    Ms Dugdale says: "I would suggest people arguing against data scraping perhaps have a vested interest in it.

    "The members have not demonstrated the data put to them is inaccurate."

  5. 'A sense of community was something people used to cherish, but now can only crave'

    Conservative MSP Gordon Lindhurst
    Image caption: Conservative MSP Gordon Lindhurst
  6. 'We need to be mindful of striking a balance between tourism and short-term letting'

    Green MSP Mark Ruskell

    Green MSP Mark Ruskell says: "In East Neuk of Fife there are 500 homes short-term lets registered with the assessor.

    "They don't pay council tax, this relates to half a million pounds lost in tax revenue every year.

    "Alongside that is the informal letting register using online platforms.

    "This combined public revenue could be spent for example on St Andrews railway which would bring huge benefits."

  7. 'People who live in the city centre are entitled to be treated as a community as well'

    Labour MSP Pauline McNeill
    Image caption: Labour MSP Pauline McNeill
  8. 'Often solutions are better than regulations'

    Conservative MSP Graham Simpson

    Conservative MSP Graham Simpson suggests that "often solutions are better than regulations."

    He says: "Tourism is vital wherever you go.

    "We need to avoid harming the tourism industry.

    "But, if we need to regulate then we should do so."

  9. 'This is a huge concern for many residents in Edinburgh'

    SNP MSP Ben Macpherson
    Image caption: SNP MSP Ben Macpherson
  10. 'Severe distress' caused by this 'phenomenon'

    Green MSP Andy Wightman

    Green MSP Andy Wightman says "It's in Edinburgh the phenomenon has taken off and where it causes severe distress."

    He says these includes

    • Anto-social behaviour within communal areas.
    • A loss of community
    • Mental ill health, caused by anxiety and stress with not knowing who is coming and going
    • Displacement of the residential population as homes are required as lucrative short-term lets
    • A tax gap
    • Concerns over security as keys as distributed to unknown persons every year allowing access to residential areas
  11. Background: Concerns over rise of holiday lets in Edinburgh city centre

    Edinburgh

    In May we reported that concerns had been raised that a sharp rise in holiday lets in Edinburgh city centre was making it more difficult to find somewhere to live in the capital.

    Research by the Scottish Green Party suggested that about half the homes in the EH1 postcode will be holidays lets by 2050.

    They called for more regulation on short-term lets.

    But others said the trend was boosting the local economy as more people holiday in Edinburgh.

    Some home-owners have complained they can only afford to live in the area if they rent out their property at peak times.

  12. Homes First

    Short term lets are properties rented out for a few days of weeks at a time, typically to tourists and visitors.

    The Scottish Green Party says the issues associated with the rise of short term lets include:

    • Antisocial behaviour within communal residences such as tenements. Instances reported include littering, fighting, and late night noise.
    • A loss of community as properties are bought by speculative buyers, who in turn, replace permanent tenants with a high turnover of temporary residents and lead to a flight of permanent residents.
    • Mental health cases associated with stress, anxiety and uncertainty where strangers are ever present in domestic settings.
    Edinburgh short term lets
    Image caption: Many people in Edinburgh let out there flat for the festival
    • The displacement of available housing for people wishing to live in neighbourhoods that are experiencing growth in short term lets. In turn, this has a knock on effect on local services and facilities as the resident population is replaced by temporary visitors.
    • A tax gap where short term let landlords pay no non-domestic rates towards the costs of maintaining the urban fabric and local services but seek to profit from it at the same time.
    • Concerns over the security of premises, particularly with keys to properties being exchanged to unknown persons for irregular periods of time.
  13. Background: Holiday let owners 'should pay business rates'

    The population of Edinburgh is said to treble during the annual arts festival
    Image caption: The population of Edinburgh is said to treble during the annual arts festival

    Green MSP Andy Wightman said in August that homeowners who rent out their property for the Edinburgh festival season should have to pay business rates.

    Mr Wightman said the owners of short-term lets in Edinburgh were avoiding more than £10m in taxes each year.

    The city has seen a boom in homes being rented out as holiday accommodation, particularly at festival time.

    Mr Wightman said the vast majority of these properties currently do not pay business rates.

    The rates, also known as non-domestic rates, are a tax on non-residential properties to help pay for local council services.

    Read more here

  14. Background: Scottish Green Party research

    Mr Wightman said there was no justification for holiday lets to be exempt from paying business rates
    Image caption: Mr Wightman said there was no justification for holiday lets to be exempt from paying business rates

    Properties become liable for non-domestic rates rather than council tax if they are rented out for more than 140 days - but Mr Wightman said only half of such properties in Edinburgh are declared.

    His research also suggested that 83% of short-term lets in Edinburgh that are declared for non-domestic rates have a rateable value below £15,000.

    They are therefore fully exempt from paying business rates under the Scottish government's Small Business Bonus Scheme.

    Mr Wightman said an additional £10.6m in tax revenues would be generated if all short-term lets of more than 140 days per year paid non-domestic rates.

  15. Background: Homes First campaign

    The Scottish Green Party says that "the growth in short term lets is out of control in Edinburgh and of increasing concern across Scotland."

    They describe the campaign: "Homes First is a campaign to resist the commercial forces that are being unleashed by the expansion of short term letting, to uphold the value of the homes and communities we live in, and to demand reform in housing and planning law so that homes come first."