PROPOSALS for a ‘radical review of land reform’ have been made by Scotland’s First Minister Alex salmond who claims the plan will deliver a more successful Scotland with stronger communities & economic growth. The announcement Radical rethink on land reform underway does not propose a free ivory tower & garden for every Scot, and does not appear to be focussed on tackling the core issues at the heart of who really owns Scotland and why housing & property ownership seems to have been put out of reach of just about everyone except the top 5% of the population.
Speaking in Skye where a summer cabinet meeting was convened, Mr Salmond revealed details of a new Land Reform Review Group that will oversee a wide ranging review of land reform in Scotland.
Dr Alison Elliot, who has extensive experience working in the community and voluntary sector, will chair the group. She will be joined by Professor James Hunter and Dr Sarah Skerratt as vice chairpeople, who have experience of the Highlands and Islands and rural development.
A further 10 advisers – with expertise in areas such as property and land issues, economics, legal issues, community-led organisations, landownership, forestry and access – will also be appointed [at great public expense] to the group shortly.
It is anticipated that the Land Reform Review Group will report in a series of stages to Scottish Ministers, providing consideration of what the outcomes of land reform should be and what reforms are required. By the end of 2013 the Scottish Government would expect a report on any legislative changes that are required to allow this to be taken forward.
Mr Salmond said: "Land reform is an important part of Scotland’s story. From the Crofting Acts of the 1880s and 1890s to the more recent right-to-buy legislation and support for community land purchase, significant progress has been made. We cannot underestimate the crucial part land reform will play in contributing to the future success of Scotland for the next generation. By improving the relationship between our land and people, we can create stronger communities and deliver the economic growth and fairer society that the people of Scotland quite rightly expect. I want this review to deliver radical change for both rural and urban areas, developing new ideas which will improve current legislation as well as generating even more innovative proposals. The expertise and experience of those on the group will be key to its success and that’s why I’m delighted Alison, James and Sarah have agreed to take forward this important project."
Dr Elliot said: “I am delighted to take this opportunity to review land reform in Scotland. I want to take a look at all the opportunities that exist to promote more communities taking control of their future by taking control of their land. I expect it will be an interesting, and challenging job and I look forward to getting up and down the country promoting debate."
Meanwhile critics have said they expect little to change as a result of what may turn out to be little more than another multi million pound talking shop review which delivers only for vested interests & Cabinet Ministers who’s aim is to flog their local woodlands & forests to shady middle eastern financial funds.