Ariane Burgess, Scottish Green MSP for the Highlands & Islands, has called for the Scottish Government to consider wealth and land taxes to reduce unequal land ownership, increase the number of homes in rural areas and capture a share of the increase in land value that occurs when development is supported through the planning system.
During Portfolio Questions today, Ariane asked the Scottish Government for its response to the STUC’s recent proposals for a wealth tax and land value tax which the STUC claims could raise an extra £3.3bn for public services.
Ariane went on to highlight the concentration of land ownership in parts of Moray in her region which had been highlighted in a previous report by the Scottish Land Commission.
They found that in Buckie, Speyside, Elgin and Forres, half the land available for housing was owned by just five landowners, a situation likely to have only got worse given the Commission’s latest Access To Land Report.
Ms Burgess argued that the land and wealth taxes highlighted in the STUC’s report could be a useful tool for tackling this challenge and the consequences for availability and affordability of land.
Commenting, Ariane said:
“The concentration of land ownership into ever fewer hands should concern us all.
“How we use our land is a vital part of our just transition to a sustainable Scotland but the benefits of that shift must be felt by the many and not the few.
“The agreement between the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Government commits us to making sure the public benefit from land use value increases caused by development, but we need to embed that approach in all our legislation on land reform and community wealth building.
“Currently, rising prices and speed of sales are reducing access to land for our young people and new entrants to the market while at the same time making much-needed rural housing scarcer and more expensive.”