RISE today issued a major new report on land reform, arguing the grassroots rebellion on the issue at the SNP conference shows that there is a huge appetite for more radical changes than those currently offered by the Scottish Government.
A RISE spokesperson said: “The issue of land reform could not be more urgent, with tenant farmers in the Lothians currently being told that they must leave their farms and communities under threat of eviction. The ownership of land lies at the heart of the inequalities of Scottish society, and it demands a radical approach to changing it.”
“The land reform bill currently being put to the Scottish Parliament has been watered down again and again to the point where it is so weak that it will fail to address these fundamental injustices blighting our land.''
''The Scottish Government has dropped a commitment to crack down on landowners who hide their wealth in tax havens like the Virgin Islands and Guernsey. Urgent action is needed to control the soaring cost of land – how can we expect communities to be able to purchase the ground they live on when farmland currently costs £10,000 an acre? And the amount of land that any one owner can possess must be capped, ending the obscenity of rich elites owning estates the size of some small countries.”
“While the Scottish Government has folded to the pressure of landowners on these isssues, . RISE believes it is essential that in 2016 Scotland elects radical MSP's prepared to tackle vested interests head on, and pushing the next Scottish Government to go further than the current tepid proposals.''
''We will be standing at the next Holyrood elections demanding a crack down on landowning tax dodgers, a cap on the size of estates and changes to succession law to stop such tracts being passed on from generation to generation. We want an immediate end to the evictions of tenant farmers, who should be given the right to buy their farms, and for communities to be able to demand compulsory purchase orders of their land.''
''We seek to reform planning law to allow small scale, sustainable developments for rural communities, like self-built houses, housing co-operatives and hutting.”
“It remains to be seen if the next Scottish Government will prove any more likely than others to tackle these fundamental issues. RISE MSPs can help guarantee that Holyrood would introduce legislation to do so.”