Scottish Land Action Movement

THE LAND IS OURS

Questions or ideas? Please get in touch! Our email is mail@scottishlandactionmovement.org
http://www.scottishlandactionmovement.org/#backround-section

WE DEMAND…

1. A land information system
Currently only 26% of Scotland’s land is registered in the land register. To find out who owns what, we demand a mandatory system that is up to date and available to the public. 

2. A Land-Value Rating (LVT)
There is no taxation on just land itself. We demand a move towards a more progressive tax, that takes into account the value and use of the land. 

3. A cap on the amount of land any one private individual or beneficial interest is eligible to own 
Huge private estates leave the land empty and barren. We would like them community-owned or broken up through the establishment of a National Land Policy, and updated laws of succession.

4. Greater powers for communities to buy and own land 
Statutory rights of: registration of interest in land, pre-emption over land, and a right to buy land through a compulsory purchase order where there is a clear benefit to the community, both urban and rural.

5. Security for tenants in rented accommodation 
How we live on the land affects us all – secure tenancies for private renters ensure communities can flourish.

6. A robust self-build sector
We believe incentives to self-build homes can offer alternatives to current housing schemes and strengthen communities.

7. Rights for tenant farmers
Tenant farmers currently have very little security over their tenancies, leaving them vulnerable to huge rent increases and evictions. We demand protective legislation and an inquiry into an optional automatic right to buy.

8. Hutting
Hutting should be encouraged and facilitated by landowners and planning authorities to encourage rural leisure.

9. Greater governmental aid
Establish a distinct governmental unit that will facilitate community buyouts, advise ministers, and provide support services. Increase the Land Fund. 

10. Common Good lands
We demand that Common Good Lands be safeguarded, their management be democratic and modern, and information regarding Common Good lands and funds be readily available and up to date.

Look at our political structures, our economy, and our land, and you’ll find a fundamental lack of democracy. 

Our focus is land.  Who owns Scotland?  Very few.  Just 432 landowners have 50% of the privately owned land.  That’s a mere 0.008% of the population.

The causes for this extraordinary situation go back centuries – feudalism was only abolished in Scotland a decade ago – but the concentration of land ownership has actually increased in the last 50 years. 

The early years of the Scottish Parliament brought tentative progress in the form of the 2003 Land Reform (Scotland) Act; this legislation, with the provision of a Land Fund, encouraged a series of community buy-outs in rural areas.  These have shown how extraordinarily successful communities can be when they manage their own affairs; producing off-grid electricity, increasing tourism, boosting local jobs… developments essential to stop the disastrous trend of rural depopulation. 

But the case for much bolder, wider-reaching land reform never went away.  It was heard frequently during the referendum debate; increasingly recognised as a central issue for those calling for social justice, democracy and equality in Scotland. 

This isn’t just a rural issue.  Land reform in Scotland has its roots in the struggles of the 1800s to oppose clearances and establish crofters’ rights – but now it is much broader.  Soaring land values and monopoly control are what drive housing shortages, deprivation, urban blight.  Our city centres are full of half-empty hotels, stalled developments, overpriced and ugly student housing. 

Meanwhile rural communities decline further under – often absent – landowners; and vast swathes of the Highlands are set aside as playgrounds for the world’s richest, with troubling ecological and social consequences. This is an issue that affects everyone.

The Scottish Land Action Movement is a collective of activists all striving for the same goal – to deliver comprehensive and radical land reform in Scotland by 2016.

 

WHAT WE DO

We are a collective of activists all striving for the same goal – to deliver comprehensive and radical land reform in Scotland by 2016.
We believe that people-powered campaigning is the best way to do this. We have the backing of prominent researchers, journalists, activists and even politicians to help us reach our goal. However, it is the power of collective democracy that has founded this movement. Post-referendum Scotland is a place brimming full of passion and ideas – we believe there has never been a better time to fight for land reform, and with the support of a politicised nation, we can create a fairer and more just Scotland.

Our aim is simple – get enough people talking about our message, and change will happen.

We plan to provide a cohesive network for activists and campaign groups from all over the country to come together and learn from each other. We have a library of resources of all varieties so people can educate themselves on the topic of land reform, reaching far beyond just lairds in their castles. Land reform is just as important to communities in central Glasgow as it is to communities in the Western Isles, and the more knowledge we have about these issues, the more power we can wield in affecting change. 

If you would like to set up a campaign or group, we will help you in whatever way we can with the resources at our disposal. 

If you would like to contribute to our movement, our blog will be showcasing stories of communities in action, of campaigns, and examples of community ownership successes. Even just telling us why you think land reform is important – we want to hear from you!

Over the coming months we will be setting up petitions and meetings – please follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to receive up-to-date information.
 

Questions or ideas? Please get in touch! Our email is mail@scottishlandactionmovement.org