Land Reform and the Independence Referendum

The issue of land reform has been simmering on a low political heat amid the white noise of competing claims over Scotland’s constitutional future. Its source is the Land Reform Review Group (LRRG), appointed by the Scottish Government in July 2012 to develop “innovative and radical” proposals for greater diversity of ownership and ownership types in Scotland and support for communities in land acquisition and management.

The LRRG is not due to produce its final report until April 2014, which might look to some like an attempt by the Scottish Government to punt ‘the Land Question’ into the long grass ahead of the Scottish Independence Referendum in September 2014.

Viewed in that light, Johann Lamont’s speech at the Scottish Labour Party Conference on Saturday makes for interesting reading. It contains a policy commitment to extend the currently rural focus of the “community right to buy” contained in Part 2 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 to also include urban communities.

So far, so progressive. Continue reading