Non-domestic rates/Council Tax second and empty homes consultation: partial impact assessments

Partial impact assessments relating to the consultation on council tax for second and long term empty homes, and thresholds for non-domestic rates.

2. Children's Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment

2.1 This is the result of CRWIA Stage 1 screening.

Describe the policy and its overall aims.

2.2 The policy objectives and relevant national outcomes are set out in chapter 1.

What aspects of the policy will affect children and young people up to the age of 18?[3]

2.3 The policy could affect children and young people in these ways:

a) parents or guardians reliant on income streams from self-catering accommodation

b) in the local community

Self-catering accommodation

2.4 The letting of self-catering accommodation may provide an income stream (and employment) for parents or guardians. If they were to change the use of the accommodation to a private rental tenancy, the income would likely be lower, however, it would not be subject to seasonal variation and costs are likely to be lower, for example regular cleaning in between frequent changeovers of guests would not be required and the council tax would be payable by the tenant, not the owner.

In the local community

2.5 Where demand is outstripping supply for local housing and this is exacerbated by concentrations of second and long-term empty homes, and infrequently used short-term lets, these proposals could help councils ensure accommodation is used to best effect in terms of housing for residential use in these areas.

What likely impact – direct or indirect – will the policy/measure have on children and young people?

2.6 "Direct" impact refers to policies/measures where children and young people are directly affected by the proposed changes, e.g. in early years, education, child protection or looked after children (children in care). "Indirect" impact refers to policies/measures that are not directly aimed at children but will have an impact on them. Examples include: welfare reforms, parental leave, housing supply, or local transport schemes.

2.7 There are no direct impacts as the policy is not targeted at children or young people. We consider that indirect impacts in the local community would be positive, as councils will be able to use taxation to incentivise second home owners to use their homes in other ways e.g. for private rental tenancies. This could help alleviate housing pressures in hot spot areas.

2.8 Overall, these proposals could be used where councils consider it will help them to make best use of existing housing and manage numbers of second homes, long-term empty homes and short-term lets. This is likely to have a positive impact on children and young people.

Which groups of children and young people will be affected?

2.9 Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), "children" can refer to: individual children, groups of children, or children in general. Some groups of children will relate to the groups with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010: disability, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation. "Groups" can also refer to children by age band or setting, or those who are eligible for special protection or assistance: e.g. pre-school children, children in hospital, children in rural areas, looked after children, young people who offend, victims of abuse or exploitation, child migrants, or children living in poverty.

2.10 The Sustainable Tourism sector represents a larger portion of employment in rural areas than for Scotland's economy overall (also in Edinburgh).[4] The 'accommodation and food services' sector also has a much larger share of employment in remote rural areas (15%) compared to accessible rural areas (9%) and the rest of Scotland (8%).[5] It may be the case that children and young people in areas with higher proportions of self-catering accommodation are more likely to be affected by the proposals than in other areas.

Will this require a CRWIA?

2.11 We consider it is unlikely the consultation proposals will have a direct impact on children.

2.12 If there is any indirect impact on children, it is most likely to be neutral or positive.

CRWIA Declaration

2.13 A CRWIA is not required at this point but we will review consultation responses to consider if one may be required if the decision is to legislate.



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