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MSPs to examine new charging orders bill

11 November 2013

Submissions from the public on a member's bill to add to the powers of local authorities to recover money spent on tackling dangerous buildings, are invited today by a Holyrood committee.

The Local Government and Regeneration Committee has been appointed to scrutinise the Defective and Dangerous Buildings (Recovery of Expenses) (Scotland) Bill, introduced by Labour MSP David Stewart.

Mr Stewart wants to add charging orders to the means by which councils can recover their costs and expenses where they have carried out work to defective and dangerous buildings. Currently these have to be pursued through civil recovery procedures. (Click here for Journal news item on the introduction of the bill.)

Questions on which the committee would particularly like to hear views are:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed bill?
  • Whether the bill will improve local authority’s ability to undertake repairs to dangerous and defective buildings.
  • Where the initial capital required can be found?
  • Where the owner of a building is not known, how will the bill improve on the current situation?
  • Why is the approach in this bill preferable to that of the Scottish Government in their recent Community Empowerment consultation?

Committee convener Kevin Stewart MSP said: “Safeguarding the public from defective and dangerous buildings is an important role for local authorities across Scotland. Clearly any measures which seek to improve the ability of local authorities to undertake these repairs are to be welcomed.

“However, what our committee wants to know is whether the proposals contained within the bill will work in practice and if this is really the best way to ensure that local authorities are confident they can recover costs of bringing buildings back into a good state of repair. Only by hearing from those who would be affected can we ensure if this is indeed the case.”

Click here to view the call for evidence. The closing date for submissions is 31 January 2014.

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