‘Radical’ land reform announced by the man with 225 lawyers, First Minister Alex Salmond. LAND REFORM for Scotland is again on the cards, according to a ‘radical’ review announced by Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond who claims the newly announced review will deliver a more successful Scotland with stronger communities and economic growth. Whether Mr Salmond’s land reform review is any more than a typical politicians Public Relations stunt and whether it will actually deliver a coherent reform tackling, as land expert Andy Wightman writes “real issues concern inflated land values, affordability of housing, succession law, tax avoidance, secrecy, absentee landlordism, theft of common land, land registration laws, common good etc” is yet to be seen.
In fact, rather than read the Scottish Government’s Press release, reprinted below, readers should first visit Andy Wightman’s website Land Matters, to read the facts behind who owns Scotland’s land and why Mr Salmond’s review will count for little unless the real issues are discussed & tackled.
Scottish Government’s Press Release : Radical rethink on land reform underway
A radical review of land reform will deliver a more successful Scotland with stronger communities and economic growth, First Minister Alex Salmond said today. 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 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.”
Mr Salmond continued : "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."
Fine words, however, given the Scottish Government's record of backtracking on reforms of the legal system, from attempts to mothballing Lord Gill’s CIVIL COURTS REVIEW, to tinkering with Scots criminal law in the hopes of giving the Crown Office more [dubious] conviction statistics to brag about, just don't expect too much transparency or land reform from Mr Salmond when lobbying from vested interests, big business & political donors raise their tentacles.
LOBBY ME THIS : Lobbying the Scottish Government certainly brings in the contracts, profits & delays to legal reforms, as Diary of Injustice earlier revealed where a series of law firms wined & dined Ministers & Civil Servants of this same SNP Scottish Government to collect on Twenty Million pounds of taxpayer funded legal contracts which Mr Salmond’s two hundred & twenty five lawyers apparently couldn't manage to lend a hand on. Read the report here : HOSPITALITY WINS : Law firms who won £20 Million legal contract wined, dined & lobbied Scottish Government’s Legal Directorate for three years