#OurLand campaigners call for action on #LandReformBill changes


MSPs asked to make land ownership transparent and tackle tax havens

SUPPORTERS of the Our Land campaign are being asked to contact MSPs on a Holyrood committee to back greater transparency of ownership and a crackdown on owners using tax havens in the Land Reform Bill.

The cross-party campaign launched it’s ‘Be Brave’ campaign in September last year, when concerns about the weakness of the promised land reform bill were emerging. Now the bill has reached the second stage, and amendments are set to be considered by the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment (RACCE) committee tomorrow [19 January].

Several key amendments are being backed by Our Land campaigners – three put forward by SNP MSP Graeme Dey , who is the deputy convener of the RACCE committee, and two in the name of Green MSP Patrick Harvie. The amendments seek to strengthen the power of the bill to make it easier to find out who owns land in Scotland, and to re-instate a former proposal to force companies owning Scottish land to register in the EU, which would clamp down on companies registering in secretive tax havens .

Our Land, a group which involves think tank Common Weal, campaign group Women for Independence, broadcaster Lesley Riddoch, and researcher and Green party candidate Andy Wightman, is asking its supporters to contact members of the RACCE committee about the changes before tomorrow’s meeting.

The amendments can be read in full on the Scottish Parliament website .

The Scottish Government’s Land Reform Bill has faced opposition from landowners and lawyers , but also from SNP rank and file membership , who in contrast have argued that it does not go far enough.

Yesterday [19 January] it was reported that villagers on the estate of the Duke of Buccleuch – Scotland’s largest landowner – were considering a community buyout, hoping to replace the grouse moors with heritage and recreational use to draw in tourists.

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Picture courtesy of Our Land