Eloquent Statement on need for more land reform
Community Land Scotland commenting on Scottish Land and Estates economic report said,
This report offers a lot of very useful insights into land economy issues. It is particularly striking to see ownership in so few hands and those same hands for sometimes centuries. It demonstrates just what a monopoly a few people have over land in Scotland.
Worryingly the report also reveals that the concentration in direct control of land is set to continue with predictions of fewer farm and croft tenancies and more direct owner management. (Fig 3-1)
When you ally that to the vast sums of public money flowing into these estates, it shows how Scotland’s land ownership patterns also concentrate wealth and privilege.
While referring to Trusts which have been created to own much of the land, it is disappointing the brief for the study did not also ask about the range of tax benefits this brings to landowners, contributing to growing wealth from rising land values. Much land is now marketed principally on its potential for huge financial returns to the owners.
As it stands the report is an eloquent statement of the need for more land reform.
The rural economy does need active and successful land owners but within a much more diverse land ownership pattern including many more private and community owners, spreading the benefits of the public investment in our land into more hands.