In a debate on the second stage of the Land Reform Bill in Scotland, Labour/Co-operative MSPs have called on the Scottish government to promote the mutual ownership of land.
Claudia Beamish MSP asked for an amendment to the bill to make promoting co-operative development one of the tests of the Scottish government’s decision on whether to allow community ownership or not.
Also speaking before the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee was Sarah Boyack MSP, Scottish Labour spokesperson for Environmental Justice, who called for clarity about ownership of land and where the ultimate ownership lies so that communities can exercise the right to buy in practice.
She said: “The committee has been drip-fed the Scottish government’s changing positions on key elements of the Bill and it was important that as Opposition members we were able to get clarity on the Scottish government’s position. Given the huge public interest in this bill I was particularly keen to get on the record the fact that we need substantial changes before the bill lives up to the aspirations we have for it.”
Under the Land Reform Act of 2003 communities already enjoy the right to register an interest in land or assets and to purchase if it comes on the market, but the new bill is proposing a right to buy land to further sustainable development. The new provisions would apply where a landlord is judged not to be managing his assets to provide opportunity and employment for the local community.
“I am determined that Scottish Labour will continue to work on a cross party basis to strengthen this legislation. We will continue to press SNP Ministers for changes to be made in advance of the Parliament’s Stage 3 consideration of bill.”