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Councils will be allowed to double council tax on second homes under plans that have been laid before the Scottish Parliament.

The government's draft regulations, which are subject to approval by MSPs, are part of a joint plan with Cosla to help increase available housing.

The move would bring tax rules on second homes into line with long-term empty homes from 1 April 2024.

Second homes are currently subject to a default 50% discount on council tax.

However, local authorities have the power to vary the charge and the majority charge second home-owners the full rate of council tax.

That could now double next year after a consultation in which 55% of respondents backed the proposal.

In the 2024-25 financial year, the premium will be based on rates from 2023-24.

The latest figures show that as at the end of September 2022 there were 24,287 second homes in Scotland.

In January 2023, there were 42,865 long-term empty homes.

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