On Friday 5th March, the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference will debate plans for land reform aimed at boosting rural communities neglected by the SNP’s “Government for the Central Belt”.
The conference will consider proposals from the Highland Liberal Democrats that would:
- Replace property-based council tax with a locally administered land value tax, encouraging a more proportional system of taxation and fairer use of land.
- Expand the Scottish Land Fund to facilitate further community ownership across Scotland.
- Institute a First Time Builders Fund to support population growth in rural areas that lack housing stock.
- Require public bodies to consult with rural and remote communities to make sure Scottish legislation is "rural proof"
Scottish Liberal Democrat land reform spokesperson and Caithness, Sutherland and Ross candidate Molly Nolan said:
“Scotland still has one of the most concentrated land ownership patterns in the world, with over half of Scotland’s rural land owned by just 432 landowners.
“The Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated the housing crisis affecting Scottish communities, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, where demand for housing has soared.
“Reforming land ownership, usage and taxation in Scotland will contribute to a fairer society and a fairer economy. The Scottish Government’s existing land reform policies do not go far enough to ensure that young people and families are supported to remain in their communities in adulthood.
“Too often the SNP have been a government for the central belt. It’s time to put the residents of rural Scotland back in charge of our destiny. I hope that conference will back my proposals to make that happen.”