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Whose is the land? What is it for?

Writing with Georgia Grainger for Common Weal’s newsletter, the Labour MSP for North East Scotland, Mercedes Villalba, has highlighted the arguments she is promoting for land reform: ‘despite what appears to be widespread support for a more democratic, equal system of ownership, Scottish land ownership remains extremely concentrated … Despite feudalism being officially abolished in 2004, our system continues to reward wealth and private interest with power over our natural resources, while depriving communities of democratic choice and accountability’.

Surveying varied proposals and debates around land ownership in a recent article on this website, Stuart Fairweather stressed the importance of ‘the fullest range of progressive and democratic opinion helping to shape a new and just settlement around land ownership in Scotland, including trade unions and other urban-based organisations and social movements’.

The consultation on Villalba’s proposed Land Ownership and Public Interest Members’ Bill has just been extended until Tuesday 26 September, and so this provides one opportunity over the coming week to contribute to the discussion. Find out more about her proposals and respond to the consultation by clicking here.

With official government proposals on land reform expected by the end of the year from Mairi Gougeon MSP, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, it is clear that debate on these issues will be a major focus for political debate in coming months – with important implications for many people who live and work in our country’s extensive rural areas and the highlands and islands, and around issues of democracy, equality and the control and use of economic and natural resources which affect us all.

Published 19 September 2023.


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