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.