14 January 2002

Justice 2 Committee in Inverness

"Labour's Land Reform Bill Timid" says MSP Stewart Stevenson

The Scots Parliament's Justice 2 Committee will be meeting in Inverness' Town House today [Monday] to take evidence on the New Labour-Liberal Democrat Land Reform Bill.

In advance of today's meeting Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson hit out at a number of gaps in proposals for the community right to buy provisions:

“Evidence given to the Committee so far suggests that far from being an attempt to radically change patterns of land ownership in Scotland, the Executive's Bill is a damp squib.

"This Bill may only change ownership of about one thirtieth of Scotland's land. In the crofting counties, the Bill makes only modest proposals to extend local ownership but in the remainder of Scotland, the barriers to community right to buy are formidable.

"A substantial proportion of land in Scotland is owned by companies or by family trusts. The present proposals would exclude such land from the general 'right to buy' in the Bill..

"Labour are trumpeting that they have delivered on a 100-year commitment. Their timid Bill actually means that in another 100 years, the majority of Scotland's land could remain in the hands the very people who have a stranglehold on it today."

Stewart Stevenson
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