Injustice Scotland at http://groups.msn.com/injusticescotland are reporting the news on this week's Scottish Parliament hearings on the Common Good Fund scandal which has seen at least £1 billion pounds (thats $2billion US) of land & other public assets, .. stolen from Scotland's public ownership to help benefit a few people favoured by regional authorities & councillors. This has the making of a gigantic scandal in revealing the histories of how some companies & supposedly respectable tycoons made their money ...
Article to follow :
The Local Government and Transport Committee of the Scottish Parliament will consider three petitions (875, 896, & 961) regarding common good assets and listed buildings this Tuesday (14th at 2pm).
There are revelations expected on just how some of Scotland's local authorities tranferred out land & common good assets to favoured businessmen & companies, without explanation, accountability, or profit for the public. Allegations of criminality & corruption are widespread, with speculation that councillors have received bribes, backhanders & much more so that some could build their fraudulent fortunes on land & assets stolen from the public
Article from one of our contributors, along with a Mail on Sunday story follows :
To all who are interested in “Common Good assets”
The Mail on Sunday today carries an article on page 43 by Marcello Mega entitled “How public land worth £1 bn simply disappeared”
The article quotes Andy Wightman who is due to give evidence to the Local Government and Transport Committee of the Scottish Parliament which will consider three petitions (875, 896, & 961) regarding common good assets and listed buildings this Tuesday (14th at 2pm). This meeting in Committee Room 1 will be televised live on the Parliament’s LiveStream facility—see http://www.holyrood.tv/committee.asp
For agenda etc see: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/lg/index.htm
All three petitions will be spoken to by their sponsors, 875, by Mary E. Mackenzie, Peebles; 896, by Sally Richardson, Edinburgh; & 961 by David I Harvey, East Dunbartonshire Heritage.
A submission by Andy Wightman, author of “Common Good Land in Scotland: A Review and Critique” will be made via VideoLink from The British Embassy Addis Ababa.
Mr Wightman has recently presented a document to Edinburgh City Council regarding the Waverley Market site in Edinburgh. This site with a value of £40 million was transferred out of the Common Good Account by the Council before being given to developers in a 250 year lease for the sum of ONE PENCE PER YEAR.
The Edinburgh City Council say this was a mistake—shurely shome mishtake!!!!!
It is anticipated that Edinburgh City Council will give evidence at the next meeting of the Committee on 21st Nov —a must for all with an interest in the common weal.
Yours in the common good, Tom Minogue.
Mail on Sunday article :
How public land worth £1billion simply disappeared
by Marcello Mega
More than £1billion of land and assets belonging to the public have been lost due to centures of mismanagement and corruption, the Scottish Parliament will hear this week.
Land experts say common good assets - property historically owned by the taxpayer and managed by local authority cistodians - have been misappropriated or even stolen.
Holyrood's local government and transport committee will hear evidence from leading land reformed Andy Wightman that common good assets should now be safeguarded for the benefit of future generations.
AS part of it's investigation, the committee will hear how the Princes Mall shopping centre in Edinburgh - currently owned by rangers tycoon David Murray - was transferred out of the common good fund by councillors in 1982. If it had remained in the find, it is claimed it could have earned millions of pounds in rent and be worth about £20 million as a capital asset.
MSPs will also look at the black hole in the finances of the Lanarkshire town of Hamilton, where some £50 million is missing from the common good account as a result of an intitiative that started under the then leadership of Finance Minsiter Tom McCabe.
Mr Witheman and accountant Kames Perman last year published a report on common good land in Scotland which revealed widespread concerns over the management of common good assets across Scotland.
In their report, they wrote : "The history of the common good over the centuries has been a history of wise stewardship followed by corruption, nepotism, cronyism, and criminality.
'Today the situation is characterised by ignorance, bad record-keeping, impoverished funds, confusion and a continuing dose of cronyism, nepotism and evidence of occasional criminality'
They recommend a public register of assets, a statutory right for communities to take back title and ownership of common good funds, an independent review of all local authority property sales and an obligation on councils to pay a market rent for the use of common good property.
The Holyrood committee will be asked on Tuesday by petitioners to prevent the further sale of such assets for development.
The Committee will also hear from local authorities,. including Edinburgh and South lanarkshire, who have been asked to explain their use of common good assets.
Mr Wightman is currently in Ethiopia but will give evidence to the committee by live video-link from Addis Ababa.
He will urge the committee to take action over missing assets of more than £1 billion and the "illegal appropriation' of common good assets.