SPF publishes investment and recovery action plan ahead of the Scottish elections
The Scottish Property Federation (SPF) has published an action plan ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections in May. The document sets out proposals to drive investment into the property sector and help deliver a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery from the pandemic.
A total of 16 recommendations have been put forward by the SPF. These are aimed at tackling long-term challenges, such as achieving net-zero carbon targets, in addition to pinpointing issues that need to be addressed quickly in the next parliament.
Scotland’s broken business rates system is highlighted by the SPF as one such issue in need of immediate action, with the pandemic exacerbating structural flaws in the way rates are calculated and charged.
In addition, the action plan calls for the removal of empty rates on properties that have been left vacant by the pandemic. This measure would help to attract investment into struggling high streets in desperate need of rejuvenation, rather than the current system which deters investors by acting as a tax on distressed assets.
The SPF is also proposing the establishment of a new national infrastructure agency tasked with coordinating Scotland’s rapid shift to green infrastructure, while also bringing together Scotland’s different key agencies to streamline planning and development.
SPF Chair Michaela Sullivan commented:
‘The next Scottish Government will have the vital task of rebuilding the Scottish economy following over a year of severe disruption for businesses across the country.
‘The impact on investment into the commercial property sector alone has been colossal. 2020 saw a fall in year-on-year investment in commercial property of some 50%, representing a reduction of £1bn in activity.
‘We recently welcomed the Scottish Government’s Investing with Purpose report, which highlighted the need for new investment to improve and diversify Scotland’s commercial property stock, and we stand ready to support the next government to achieve this objective.