Finance to fund land acquisition is finite. …

Comment posted First Minister announces ‘radical rethink’ on land reform by Graeme mccormick.

Finance to fund land acquisition is finite. Surely the simple way to resolve the land issue is to take the value out of it?

Suggestions as to how we achieve it without infringing human rights please!

Graeme mccormick also commented

  • Great responses! Just as the Referendum debate provides an opportunity for land reform so it also opens minds to other fundamental reforms such as access to justice, honest money, a new definition of “family” and state guaranteed citizens income.

    It would be a great shame if those opposed to Independence did not join the wider debate on these and other issues. Independence must not be an end in itself

Recent comments by Graeme mccormick

  • Can anything address the disease in Argyll and Bute Council?
    No real solution but local governed reform creating small councils with executive power ad allocateda portion of national income tax collected from local residents plus a land valuation rental to top up the budget. Councillors could only serve up to 8 years on the trot. No political parties. The bureaucracy would be separate from the political control. The council would buy in the services it required from public service bureaux which would compete to provide services to councils on fixed term and prized contracts.
  • Promising start for Kezia Dugdale on North Sea oil as SNP front bench reverts to Salmond’s schoolyard
    What effect is the low oil price havig on ye UK economy?

    Where are the broad Unionist shoulders ?

    More money is made for the UK economy through exporting oil related expertise than bringing it ashore.

    That’s where the money is.

    I’m sitting in the middle of Vienna. Regularly named best city in the world to live. I don’t see any oil rigs.

    Discuss.

  • With 4,000 children homeless in Scotland Baillie calls for National Housing Action Plan
    There are plenty of family houses in Scotland at modest cost; less than £100k. Innovative councils could buy them or lease them from owners and rent them out or offer them on various easy sale or let arrangements.

    New house completions are a diversion.

    The temptation to jump at the most expensive option is a serious error beloved of all politicians and their fellow travellers.

    There are thousands of owners who are willing to sell decent houses considerably ünder value for a quick sale as they look on them as liabilities.

    Therein the opportunity for social landlords.

    I’m happy to buy them in for them at legal fees of only £250 + vat and outlays.

    Where’s the problem?

  • Jim Murphy’s dilemmas
    Given the revelations by Mr Sinclair in the Times that Scottish Labour MPs looked on a Westminster constituency as a way out of Scotland what Jim Murphy proposes in his clause 4 is a bit of a mouse.

    He is not seeking control over election procedure for Scots MPS or macro economic policy or the host of other policies which will be reserved to Westminster.
    So in the case where the UK interestis different from Scotland’s UK will always prevail.

  • Stuart Hill challenges Supreme Court to test security of jurisdiction for Shetland
    In international law there comes a point where de facto governance becomes accepted by the international community as de iure governance.

    In the absence of the UK granting Shetland its I dependece it is not internal legal challenges which will determine its legal status but it’s acceptance by other states.

    From a practical point of view that won’t happen till the Shetlanders vote for indipendence and it is legislated for by the UK Parliament.

    I suggest there is more chance of Bute declaring UDI and having a chance of international recognition quicker than the Shetlands. A casino in the Winter Gardens would be a winner and the Marquis could stage a Grand Prix.

    Noma could open a restaurant given the abundance of ferns at Ascog and other foraged foods

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27 Responses to Finance to fund land acquisition is finite. …

  1. With only days to go until the opening of the Olympic Games , Alex Salmond has stated that this will be the final time there will be a Team GB present .
    Clearly he is further and further out of touch with the views of the people of Scotland .

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    • Every one is entitled to their views, Thatcher, Blair, Cameron were totally “out of touch with the views of the people of Scotland” and bring wee Eck into this equation I would say he is “more in touch with the views of the people of Scotland” and compared with all the other First Ministers of Scotland he has been the best. I am not saying that any of them have done humanity any good, but wee Eck does outshine them by miles.

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      • It’s fashionable to criticise Blair – with plenty of justification – but I thought that he pushed through the devolution that gave us ‘wee Eck’ & co, so he at least can’t be termed to be ‘totally out of touch with the people of Scotland’, can he? – or have I got my recent history wrong?

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        • biggest anti war march in Scotland has ever had, history is just “his story”, we all have opinions, Blair and Bush are war criminals, wee Eck isnt. I would ask you to join my political party, but 2 would be one too many. Politicians are there to serve the people, no one person gave Scotland devolution, just like wee Eck can not give “independence” to Scotland. At the end of the day we are one planet, one people and all “leaders” want to divide and rule us.
          Good rant eh. Share the land

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  2. I note the latest poll today for the Sunday Times showing increased support for independence again and increased support for the SNP (up to 47%)putting them at a higher point for Scottish Parliament eledction than even last May.
    Independence has gone up 6 points since its Jubilee low point up to 36%, just 9% below support for the status quo in a Yes/No choice.
    In a three way split it shows independence leading with 30%, Devo Max with 29% and status quo with 28%. And we still have two years to go!
    Methinks it is Islay For Ever that is missing the boat on this one

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  3. Finance to fund land acquisition is finite. Surely the simple way to resolve the land issue is to take the value out of it?

    Suggestions as to how we achieve it without infringing human rights please!

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    • The answer, Graham, is to have the increase in land prices, from an unused state to a farmed state – and certainly to a “granted planning permission” state – allocated to the person who creates that new state – the farmer or the Community which grants the planning permission. In the last case the vast increase given planning permission to build has in fact been created by the Society which has created the services necessary to have a viable building plot – the roads the power supples, the water and the communities which make the difference between £1,000 and acre and the £300,000 per acre for building sites. This could only be done in the first instance for new sites and lands, but the influence would create the capital for development of the communities we need to create and sustain in a new Scotland. So there would be land for sale and planning rights for sale – one from the original landowner, the second from the community who created the sdded value. No-one would be stealing anything from the land owner, for he, or she, never had the planning rights in the first place.

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      • http://www.henrygeorgefoundation.org
        not a new idea, “tax the value of land” nothing to do with poll tax, have one tax, no vat, no income tax. Like all ideas, the human greed element is the flaw. I think many generations ago the liberals preached this. Look at them now. There is still a hardcore of people keeping this alive and kicking. Was talk of it being done in London with land next to a new underground line.

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      • Do I perhaps here a call for Land Rental Value?

        However, like all these things they are not stand alone components, We are having these discussions in the absence of a holistic vision, which as to be based on man’s interaction with the environment. I keep banging on about so apologise for banging on yet again, we need to develop an exploitation/economic model which places the environment first and learns to live off its agenda. A model which optomises rather than maximises and one that plays to our environmental strengths.

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  4. On the face of it this appears to be a genuinely progressive move towards much needed land reform in Scotland. However, history tells us that this is unlikely to be the end-result.

    Scottish land law and ownership has an absolutely scandalous history. The land that now comprises Scotland has been the subject of a number of spuriously “legal” land grabs by the monarchy, the aristocracy, the church and the wealthy i.e. those who can either make the law or afford the legal advice to turn it to their advantage.

    The way in which rural Scotland is managed by some of its landowners is a downright shame.
    For the last month or so I have been talking to tenant farmers about issues arising from the judgements made by Lord Gill on the Land Reform Act 2003. One of the conclusions that I have come to is that, however well-meaning the spirit of the law, those with the money to examine its fine detail always come out on top.

    Undoubtedly there are landowners who act as good members of the community and encourage economic development while still protecting the natural environment. It would also seem that many large land owners act in a way that actually works against the economic development of our rural communities and contributes to many of our social problems.

    Scotland’s history is filled with many tales of absentee, wealthy landowners inflicting all kinds of injusices on the communities that live on and around their lands. I always thought that these were mostly a thing of the past but find that farm tenants still go in fear of upsetting their landlords because, quite rightly, they don’t trust the law to protect them (or can’t afford its protection!).

    I have seen evidence to show that some landowners may be deliberately allowing good farm buildings to deteriorate to ruins in order to get tenants off the land or to prevent the farms from being occupied by people who may be able, at some future time, to claim a right to buy.

    Many tenancy contracts also have clauses which allow the landlord a share of any profits which may come from “diversification” of the use of farm buildings e.g as B&Bs or self catering. This kind of micro economic development can make a substantial contribution to the economic well-being of our rural communities. Sadly, many of these ideas are killed at birth by the knowledge that sharing the profit will destroy their viability.

    Any proposals for land reform must take into account the shameful elements of Scotland’s history of land reform and the ability of those with money to turn apparently good, socially progressive legislation to their advantage.

    Andy WIghtman’s book “The Poor Had No Lawyers” is an intriguing, must-read for anyone participating in this review.

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    • Andy Wightman also wrote a scoping report on Forest Ownership in Scotland earlier this year, commissioned by the Forest Policy Group. This was the subject of a very good post by Newsroom on 4 April, which curiously did not attract any comments at the time.

      It is fascinating to see the wider debate on the referendum moving onto discussing the opportunities to redesign our society that it might bring, rather than the more simplistic focus to date on whether we would be better/worse off financially.

      I suspect there may be many people increasingly attracted to the idea of a fundamental ‘reboot’ of our systems, who are not by instinct traditional nationalists.

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      • Jamie

        I think you are correct. I personally will be voting yes but wish to see real change beyond the finacial benefits. I do not wish to see politics as usual post independence. I was speaking to someone about what would happen if one won a substantial amount of money; I don’t think I would be saying let’s get the roof repaired or someone in to decorate the house, I think I would be saying let’s have a new build, and sometimes I think that when political parties are given the political reins I think they concentrate on fixing the roof. Well, post independence, I want a new build.

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  5. I hope this policy review will not be ignored as was the Land Commission report of 1997. Words of caution for the establishment figures, this should be holistic and geared towards where we want to be rather than what do we want to fix.

    We live in exciting times with a referendum looming, here is a chance to build a future please let’s not waste it by tinkering with existing institutional monoliths. If we have to, let’s blow them away and replace them with organisations fit for purpose in the new vision.

    Community councils are not fit for purpose, empower them, they are the democratic base for their community, crofting groups, economic groups should be part of the community councils which take in all members of the community. Remember, community is a behavioural concept not a demographic one. Communities are made up of individuals, they want control over their lives and predictability in their resources so they can plan for their future. Community ownership has to give THEM that power and not be a replacement landlord, where a commitee rather than a laird decides what they can do.

    And landownership reform is weakend in the absence of landuse reform. We have underestimated the biological potential of the Highlands and we have anchored this underachievement with subsidy and scientific designation. If we make the land the best it can be, let it reach its biological potential, learn to live off the annual interest from this biological capital, then we can build a future that will last for the people who live here. So please let’s not catalogue the disasters, lets look towards what the biological system is capable of achieving and build the democratic social structures that will enable people to thrive in this northern environment. PS. have look at Norway.

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  6. Great responses! Just as the Referendum debate provides an opportunity for land reform so it also opens minds to other fundamental reforms such as access to justice, honest money, a new definition of “family” and state guaranteed citizens income.

    It would be a great shame if those opposed to Independence did not join the wider debate on these and other issues. Independence must not be an end in itself

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  7. It was encouraging to see this after the thoroughgoing seminars on this at the Community Land Scotland Agm in March. Many of the points made here were raised there with the policy wonks attending and seemingly listening. The requests for change in the current legislation I found most interesting were (a) should there not be a compulsory right to purchase on privately owned community assets, like village shops, when these are being mismanaged or purposefully run down? Obviously there are huge questions here over how this is dealt without immediately undermining the value of these businesses as a sector, but it would circumvent the present system in which communities have to wait, sometimes to the detriment of buildings, community and business, for many years. And (b) the acquisition of publicly-owned assets like forests and ferries (to mention but two ‘f’s) is presently only achievable by purchase. Should the barrier to ownership be the ability to raise millions of ££s or should it be to demonstrate capacity and willingness. It is striking that even north west Mull which purchased their forest three years ago for over £350k have already leveraged in 2.1m in investment. How much better would they have done without the millstone of acquisition cost?

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  8. Graeme, Derek,

    To design a land reform package to restore social justice to the ownership of land in Scotland will require considerable political will and effort. It will also need vast amounts of civil service and legal vigilance to ensure that any loopholes are sealed against all-comers. I have no doubt that the current landowners interests will be defended by some of the best legal brains that Scotland has to offer.

    How on earth do you expect land reform to be given the necessary political and administrative priority if Scotland decides to separate from the UK? Every waking moment of our politicians, civil servants and judiciary will be consumed with the intricate political, administrative and legal surgery necessary after jemmying Scotland away from the rest of the UK.

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    • Dr M. is right. Only when Scotland is independent will this be given any attention. Westminster would never contemplate doing anything which is not in the interests of the landowning “classes”. You need only look at where the bank bailout money went to see this. This applies to both the major UK parties.

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  9. But Bob, how on earth do you expect land reform to be given the necessary political and administrative priority if Scotland remains part of the UK?

    I have never noticed much interest in Westminster for land reform and it is highly unlikely to ever be a priority for the Tory Government.

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    • Meaningful and sustainable land reform has nothing to do with borders or politicians, it will come from the ground up. How will it start, I really do not know, probably when the value of a good neighbour is worth more than the pound in the bank. We have lost the connection to our land, has that link been broken for ever. As I always say this is my opinion, and my solution is reconnect to our land.

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    • But, to be fair to Bob, there is a lot that the devolved government can (and has) done on the subject of land reform and so his point is more that the topic would be more crowded out in an independent Parliament than in the devolved Parliament.

      However, I think that land reform would actually have a higher priority in an independent Parliament as it goes to the heart of what being independent is really about. It could also be tackled without reference to UK interests. We only need to look at the continuing problem of the Crown Estates to see how the dead hand of Union restricts our ability to pursue meaningful reforms.

      For John: I completely agree that reconnection with the land is essential but that is very difficult to achieve when the people who live on the land don’t own it and those who do own it often live far away (or are difficult to trace). Communities tend to have very different perspectives over land usage than major land owners.

      That’s why we need the politicians.

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  10. “For John: I completely agree that reconnection with the land is essential but that is very difficult to achieve when the people who live on the land don’t own it and those who do own it often live far away (or are difficult to trace). Communities tend to have very different perspectives over land usage than major land owners.
    That’s why we need the politicians.”

    I can not disagree with what you are saying, where I would debate on is “That’s why we need the politicians”. Instead of me disagreeing with this could we discuss how we view their actions. I would say a politician has taken the role of a tribal elder but lacks their responsibility. Many of the modern “tribal elders” line their own pockets and have not looked after their tribe. Give me a good politicians and I would agree with you, till then they are povertising (is there such a word) their tribe and I would class them as a tick in the insect world.

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  11. I think it is wrong to use taxpayers money to let communities purchase land from estate owners.
    If someone wants to build their own house they have to purchase a plot of land using their own funds.
    It should be the same for communities wanting to purchase the land they are currently living on. These communities should use and /or borrow the funds required with NO taxpayers money invovled.

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  12. Treble T
    you have hit the nail on the head, why should we pay for ownership of the land to be handed from one landlord to another landlord. I have seen this happening all over Scotland, communities buying land with our money and creating ghettos for their future generations. Using their logic why can the communities in cities not use the same money to buy up the high value land which delivers a life style to the nation and live of that revenue from rental for their future generation. The land issue must be address to give the people a more equitable way of living. “we need to develop an exploitation/economic model which places the environment first and learns to live off its agenda. A model which optimises rather than maximises and one that plays to our environmental strengths.” The banks maximised their profits, for short term gain, the cost is what we are seeing now.

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