Government-owned Land (Community Buy-outs)

Question Time — Scottish Executive — General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:40 am on 21st February 2008.

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Photo of Alasdair Allan Alasdair Allan Scottish National Party 11:40 am, 21st February 2008

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is in respect of community buy-outs of government-owned land. (S3O-2272)

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

We support the idea of community ownership of assets as a way of helping to sustain communities and giving them a greater say in their future. The matter is complex, and owning assets must be considered carefully to determine whether it represents the best way of delivering positive change for all communities. It is for each part of government to assess properly all the options when looking to dispose of assets.

Photo of Alasdair Allan Alasdair Allan Scottish National Party

The Government is aware of considerable community interest in a community buy-out in Seilebost, Scarista and Luskentyre in South Harris. Is the Government willing to meet representatives of those communities, which are keen to bring to South Harris—if possible—the many benefits that other areas have enjoyed following community buy-outs?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

Officials and ministers are certainly willing to meet the community groups concerned. The prospects of areas that have secured ownership of their land have been radically transformed and such communities have new opportunities. The Government would support such an approach and would be happy to facilitate further discussions.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

There is time to take question 8 briefly.