Scotland Can Unlock The Power In Our Communities

Faodaidh Alba cumhachd ar coimhearsnachdan a leigeil mu sgaoil

The Scottish Parliament has already made some progress on land reform and community empowerment but there is much more that needs to be done. Scottish Greens will be bolder and working to ensure that many more communities are in charge of their own destiny, that Scotland’s land benefits the many and not the few, and that there are no longer any secrets about who owns Scotland. A radical programme of land reform can transform the social, economic and environmental prospects for communities across urban and rural Scotland.

With more Green MSPs we can achieve real change in the ownership and use of land in Scotland, giving communities greater powers to shape how land is developed. We will work vigorously to democratise Scotland’s land laws and ensure there is transparency and accountability in how land is governed, as well as ensuring a fair and equitable tax system for property.

With more Green MSPs we can achieve real change in the ownership and use of land in Scotland, giving communities greater powers to shape how land is governed. We will work vigorously to democratise Scotland's land laws and ensure that land is used in the public interest and for the common good.

Andy Wightman MSP

MSP
Lothian
Local Government, Communities, Housing & Land Reform

Our commitments

  • Modernise Scotland’s Land Laws To Make Them Fit For The 21st Century

    Land should be owned and used in the public interest and for the common good. We will push for new laws on housing, compulsory purchase, forestry, transparency, agricultural tenancies and tax.

  • Unlock Community Enterprise

    We will argue for new opportunities for communities to have greater control over the land and development decisions that affect them.

  • Protect Human Rights

    Scottish Greens will defend our human rights legislation and protect all groups in society.

Scotland can be bolder on land reform:

  • Who owns Scotland? Green MSPs will campaign to make all landownership fully transparent and to end the ownership of land in offshore tax havens. We support an open and free-to-use national land information system incorporating data on land ownership, value, use and designations. This will help citizens, communities and the public and private sectors while supporting community action.
  • Tenants’ right to buy. Greens support proposals to provide secure agricultural tenants with a right to buy their farms in appropriate circumstances. This could be based on length of tenure and in instances where the tenant is the occupier of only one holding. During the mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy, we will propose measures to ensure that public subsidy is being directed at those in most need of it and to support the expansion of new sustainable forestry.
  • Cheaper land for better housing. We propose the repeal of provisions in the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1959 to allow local authorities to acquire land for housing at existing use value. This will encourage public-sector led development of higher quality housing of all types.
  • Freeing up vacant land for homes. Current subsidy arrangements create an incentive to keep land out of productive use. Green MSPs will campaign to ensure that all vacant and derelict land pays non-domestic rates. This will generate funds for local authorities and encourage the use of such sites. We will also support compulsory sale orders to enable local councils to make best use of vacant and derelict land.
  • Land value tax. Scottish Greens will work to replace the current system on non-domestic rating with a land value tax. In the shorter term we will argue for all land to be entered on the valuation roll with appropriate reliefs granted if justified.
  • Extending land rights. Green MSPs will support widening inheritance rights to land by giving children equal rights to inherit land, as they already have for other types of property. We will advocate the enactment of the Scottish Law Commission’s 2003 Report on the Law of the Foreshore and Seabed which is designed to modernise the law relating to public rights. And we’ll campaign for greater legal protection for common land.

Scotland can unlock community action and enterprise:

  • Control of public land. Green MSPs will support changes to increase community control over public land. We will argue for greater democratic control of the National Forest Estate and reform of the Forestry Act 1967 to allow community bodies to become managers of national forests. We will ensure that communities have a key role to play in the local management of property currently administered by the Crown Estate Commissioners. And we will develop proposals for a new Common Good Act to give communities greater control over common good property in Scotland’s towns and cities.
  • Promote community agriculture. We will campaign for a step change in land available for community agriculture. Green MSPs will campaign to provide smallholdings, community gardens and community-supported agriculture across Scotland through modernising the Land Settlement (Scotland) Act 1919 in time for its centenary. This will also support a shift away from high-input agribusiness to low-carbon, organic farming.
  • Development in the public interest. We will support proposals to extend community control over how land is developed. Green MSPs will support investment in public planning services, community-led development plans and extra safeguards to make sure people’s participation is respected. We will campaign for an equal right of appeal when development proposals don’t follow the agreed plan. This will remove a clear injustice in the system and promote plan-led development in the public interest.
  • People power. Other proposals throughout this manifesto to create a generation of community-owned energy projects, promote business models that deliver more such as cooperatives and social enterprise and fan-owned sports clubs are all designed to unlock community power.

Scotland can protect our human rights:

  • Defend human rights law. Fundamental rights for all must be safeguarded. Green MSPs will strongly oppose any repeal of the Human Rights Act, advocate for a Bill of Rights to safeguard our civil liberties, and support the incorporation of international treaties into Scots law. We also want all schools to achieve UNICEF’s Rights Respecting School Award, where children’s human rights are embedded in a school’s ethos and culture.  
  • Protect trade unions. We are unequivocal in our support for trade union rights and the need to curb the power of corporate interests in Scotland. We will campaign to reverse the current UK Government attacks on trade unions.
  • Support reproductive rights. Green MSPs support women’s legal right to choose and will work to ensure that reproductive rights are protected in Scotland. We will push for abortion to be removed from the criminal justice system and, in the short term, for improved services, access and information about abortion to be available for women in all areas of Scotland.
  • Widen digital rights. To unlock power in Scotland access to technology must be improved and digital media must not be vulnerable to control by vested corporate interests. We will advocate for an independent public Technology and Society Forum to protect digital rights and improve digital access across Scotland. The Forum would engage the public to help in drawing up recommendations for government and industry. The internet itself offers tools to make such a forum open, inclusive and participative.
  • Fight for environmental justice. Social justice and environmental justice must go hand in hand. Green MSPs will push to integrate the principles of environmental justice into legislation, industry regulation, planning and land use.

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