Community Land Ownership

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 30th September 2021.

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Photo of Rhoda Grant Rhoda Grant Labour

I agree with that. However, there is an onus on landowners to make land available for housing, especially in rural areas. Two wrongs do not make a right.

We need to protect the public interest by acting especially on off-market land purchases. The Scottish Land Commission needs powers to act on land monopoly issues and to better enable public interest purchases. We need to make observing the land rights and responsibilities statement statutory and its expectations much firmer. We need to consider capping the total public subsidy of any large-scale landowner, and we need to see the uplift in the value of land effectively underwritten by public subsidy clawed back for public benefit. We should act on Community Land Scotland’s suggestion for a community wealth fund, and we need to task Co-operative Development Scotland with promoting co-operative and mutual ownership of land in Scotland.

Those suggestions begin to map out some of the potential ways forward. The more radical change that is desperately needed here would already be regarded as normal across the world.

The emergence of the so-called green lairds shines a light on the inadequacy of our land laws and on how we subsidise the creation of private wealth from owning land when we could be building community wealth instead.

If the minister acts on those issues, she can expect fierce opposition from the vested interests. However, if she takes the right action, she will get support from Labour members. My colleagues and I will bring forward ideas. We will also be a force for more radical action. That action is essential to create a more just and fairer Scotland.