FLAT-RATE council rents are hindering efforts to attract people to live in Clydesdale communities.

Conservative members of South Lanarkshire Council have called for a new approach that would consider local demand and circumstances to help bring new residents into towns and villages.

Homes in remote and rural communities sit vacant because of standardised rent charges for similar properties across the authority.

Tories say the harmonisation policy hinders attempts to counter falling populations.

Councillor Colin McGavigan, the Conservative Group spokesman for housing, explained: “Clydesdale residents face higher costs traveling to work and accessing services than people living elsewhere in South Lanarkshire.

“We need to support rural communities and recognise their specific circumstances when we set rents.

“It makes no sense to charge a standard amount for properties in Rigside and Rutherglen, because there is entirely different demand and they receive wholly different levels of service.  

“By refusing to be flexible when setting rents the council actively discourages people from living in Clydesdale.

“It’s incredibly disappointing that none of the other parties on the council were willing to consider our proposal to end this absurd practice and give the area a much-needed boost.”