Scottish Land Reform

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  • Scottish Land Reform
  • Kit- To you of course. Tax breaks, handouts, subsidies from the EU or elsewhere. All of it. Nothing personal btw.

    I don’t claim all landowners are massively rich, I claim that many are enjoying a privelidged position only as a result of handouts from the taxpayer and a system which is designed to protect the status quo.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    The myth that most landowners are ‘minted’ is just that. Some indeed may be. Some may be comfortable, in the same way as any other middle class family. Some may have no money at all.

    Yeah, but a lot are very very rich, and manage the land for other very rich people. This is why it is a complicated issue, nothing is clear cut.

    …while increasing public access

    yeah why not, works in Europe and the Americas where they still have these animals. Bears are regularly spotted at Whistler, why not at Glentress πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon bainbrge
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    @mediocre

    Taxpayer subsidy, aside from CAP, is probably linked to wind farms etc. quite ironic really given SNP bleating.

    TheBrick
    Member

    What is the posative effect of rewilding with bears, lynx and other large animals? Only to reduce the deer population? What other envirmental and / or econmical improvments would they offer?

    Kit
    Member

    Kit- To you of course. Tax breaks, handouts, subsidies from the EU or elsewhere. All of it. Nothing personal btw.

    I don’t know everything about it (yet), but as far as I’m aware income from shooting (less than most people’s bikes cost on here) and forestry is tax free, and of course business-related expenses are tax deductible same as any other business. The estate received a grant from the Scottish Government to build 8 homes for affordable rent, which meet the highest possible energy standards, meaning total energy bills in the region of a few hundred quid a year. Other than that, as far as I’m aware we don’t get any handouts. Perhaps the farmers who lease from us get EU subsidies, but they are not the concern of the estate nor impact our income.

    I claim that many are enjoying a privelidged position only as a result of handouts from the taxpayer and a system which is designed to protect the status quo.

    If you think that having to sell half of what we own to pay tax to the Government is a handout to maintain the status quo, then I’m afraid you’re wrong. Perhaps it’s different on other estates, but I doubt it. Capital gains or inheritance tax must be paid somehow, and as I said, estates aren’t cash rich enough to cough up 6 (or 7) figure sums of money at the drop of a hat.

    Fair enough, I don’t expect you to have the full figures at your fingertips, or indeed feel any compulsion to share them on the internet.

    At the same time, being given public money to build homes to generate rent is the sort of stuff I’m talking about to be frank. It’s crackers, and a completely inappropriate use of public funds in my view. If tenant farmers are eligible for subsidies then that will of course affect the rents chargeable, just as private rents for housing are swayed by local authority housing benefit rates.

    I don’t wish to take this further because you have been decent enough to be open and that is to your credit.

    jambalaya
    Member

    Yes, Scotland doesn’t want rich people. They’ll be able to reduce reduce wealth inequality by having all the rich people leave.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    I don’t wish to take this further because you have been decent enough to be open and that is to your credit.

    don’t come waltzing in here with your reasonable attitude and be all reasonable πŸ˜›

    What is the posative effect of rewilding with bears, lynx and other large animals? Only to reduce the deer population? What other envirmental and / or econmical improvments would they offer?

    Short answer is google it for the long answer. But yes you would then have deer hunted by their natural predators rather than by toffs in mustard chinos. The environmental one answers itself really! The Scottish landscape is largely totally unnatural and a result of man’s activities, clearing the trees for timber and sheep grazing, which have no chance of regrowing with unnaturally high deer populations. Economically there are various positives, for example tourism, where the money flows into local economy rather than wealthy landowner’s pockets as it currently does. it’s not a magic make everyone rich wand though, but I don’t think there is one.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    Also not all super rich landowners are bad, read about Coignafearn estate owned by tetrapak heiress Sigrid Rausing for example, her battle with her neighbouring absentee billionaire landowner, and plans to cull deer to support conservation and subsequent protests from the deer hunting community.

    poah
    Member

    The Land Reform Bill will end tax relief for shooting estates – Good

    and force the sale of land if owners are blocking economic development – land grab

    gordimhor
    Member

    A short article on the land reform bill Andy Wightman

    ninfan
    Member

    So, let’s get this right – the suggestion is that either

    I) the communities, or
    II) the taxpayer

    All of whom are already free to roam across almost every inch of the land,

    Takes out huge loans to buy back land off the landowners (and before the radicals get any ideas, let’s remember that article 1 protocol 1 of the ECHR means that they would have to compensate the landowner at full value for every inch of land)

    So you would be borrowing money off the rich, via the bankers (with interest), to give back to the very rich, for land that is in most cases financially unproductive (certianly not productive enough to cover the cost of loans and interest) that you can already use anyway.

    And this is supposed to be popular? 😯

    Premier Icon seosamh77
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    jambalaya – Member
    Yes, Scotland doesn’t want rich people. They’ll be able to reduce reduce wealth inequality by having all the rich people leave.

    Depends on the type of rich people, what’s the point in rich people that hoard cash? Rich people that redistribute and generate wealth are fine. Tight c**ts can piss off! πŸ˜†

    Kit
    Member

    At the same time, being given public money to build homes to generate rent is the sort of stuff I’m talking about to be frank. It’s crackers, and a completely inappropriate use of public funds in my view.

    In rural Dumfriesshire there is a chronic shortage of affordable housing. Low income rural families are priced out of the market by those from affluent areas of the UK buying second homes, etc. Neither local authority nor private house builders are making any real efforts to build affordable housing for local families.

    The rental income from these homes covers loan repayments and maintenance only, and will do so for the next 30 years. No (or little) profit will be made in that time. After that, then yes this will be income. You’re entitled to argue that we shouldn’t receive public money to (ultimately) line our pockets, but at the end of the day the estate has provided affordable housing (not just cheap rent) to local families, which is more than can be said for many other businesses whose sole motive is making money.

    If you’re interested, the BBC came and spoke to one of the families for a programme they did a couple of years ago. Here’s the video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01g4jxg

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    And this is supposed to be popular?

    Most people frothing at the mouth with excitement haven’t thought about the practicalities as you have πŸ˜‰

    The taxpayer is paying for the land in one way or another anyway through the CAP, Forestry Grants, Windfarm Grants or tax exception on sporting estates. have a look at the Duke of Bucleuch’s income from the public purse. He’ s one of Scotland’s largest landowners and one of the country’s richest men and yet he takes and takes from the public purse whilst resisting open access regularly. His estates aren’t managed for their long term sustainability. I’d rather the same public money was ploughed into sustainable mange,net of the land, see the Eco logical regeneration of the wet desert (Frank Fraser Darling’s descrition of the Highlands post clearances) and see people return to the land to start building small businesses and richer lives.

    gordimhor
    Member

    Cheers Kit that’s an interesting link and a good example of landowners working for the common good.

    joshvegas
    Member

    The sporting estate tax break was introduced to support local jobs and to prevent unique landscapes and natural environments being turned over to commercial forestry

    You do know that the environment you see around you in scotland is not natural right?

    CountZero
    Member

    The sporting estate tax break was introduced to support local jobs and to prevent unique landscapes and natural environments being turned over to commercial forestry
    You do know that the environment you see around you in scotland is not natural right?

    Something it shares with pretty much the whole of the UK.

    oldbloke
    Member

    OK so what would you do with massive tracts of the Highlands?

    Repopulate the glens and work them like they used to.
    Do you think you might be being a little harsh to require the selection of people to live remotely in unserviced accommodation scraping a basic existence from the land by hand?

    mikewsmith
    Member

    Don’t knock it oldbloke it’s for the good of the Party, some people will just have to be grateful that they got rid of the rich people making money and employing people. It’s a small price to pay to be there as a weird interactive mass tourist exhibit.

    Without proposing what is “best interest for the community” what is “better economic use” or anything else it’s a land grab. Once they have the land doing anything useful with it is highly unlikely. Perhaps a test area where they could take over something that somebody wants out of and show off how they will make a much better job of it. Reintroducing wild animals doesn’t exactly sound like a great idea.

    TheBrick
    Member

    I don’t see how the enviromental benifit of reintriducing larege wild animals just answers itself, I think it would end up liek mink, and you would just be managing a different type of animal. The introduction of large predators seems mroe to do with making people feel better. Of course the landscape is largley not as it would be with out human mangment, it still would be, just different, and it would still need to be payed for by subsidy. Over population of deer does seem to be a problem I agree.

    ninfan
    Member

    Over population of deer does seem to be a problem I agree.

    Deer populations are overseen and culls set by SNH, if an estate manager had an overpopulation of deer he would have them come down on him like a ton of bricks, then move in and do it for him and send him the bill.

    The truth is that due to the herding and seasonal wide ranging behaviour of even small populations of red deer, establishing woodland through either planting or natural regeneration without fencing in upland areas is remarkably difficult. NTS tried it at Mar Lodge and it was an abject failure, (report here) as it’s not a simple metric, if you hammer the red deer population then there are feedback cycles that sees overgrowth in the heather (collapse of the Heather structure with negative impacts on bird species diversity such as grouse, ptarmigan, caper and smaller species like pipits, this has a knock on effect on raptor populations) plus an increase in fire loads leading to the inevitable, which destroys all the trees you were trying to grow) plus an explosion in the roe deer population to fill the food gap created by the lack of reds. Reintroduction of the Lynx would only see a minor effect on this.

    personally I believe that the only solution here is small block fencing, enclosing thousands of small coupes of 0.01-0.5Ha both outside and inside the woodland edge to allow them to regenerate, rather than the large scale fencing that creates a hard fenced woodland/moorland edge and denies deer their natural behaviour and historic overwintering.

    Premier Icon bigjim
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    end up liek mink, and you would just be managing a different type of animal. The introduction of large predators seems mroe to do with making people feel better

    Mink are invasive aliens, released from fur farms by total morons, and have done terrible damage. Large predators would be reintroduction, they were here long before we foolish humans came along and made a complete mess of it all.

    mikewsmith
    Member

    Large predators would be reintroduction, they were here long before we foolish humans came along and made a complete mess of it all.

    Still doesn’t make it a good idea, what are they for, why will it be better to have wolves and bears or whatever roaming round in the highlands?

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    Something it shares with pretty much the whole of the UK.

    And another area where Scotland could lead the way.

    The older I get more I have a problem with the whole concept of private ownership of the Highlands and similar places.

    And to place wealth creation (let alone wealth creation for one already rich person) as the prime determining factor for use of such land is simply moronic.

    Premier Icon bigjim
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    what are they for

    Why does everything have to be perceived to serve a direct purpose for humans to have a right to be there or justify their existence? What are midges for? What are birch trees for?

    They are all part of the natural ecosystem which evolved here over a very long time and worked very well until we came along and removed key parts of it, like trees and large predators, and now we all stand around arguing how to ‘fix’ things like deforestation and deer numbers, and the money involved, when it all worked in a perfect balance before we messed it up. Have a read about ecosystems and ecosystem services, it’s all very interesting.

    Agreed Chakaping.

    I think the whole ‘Land grab’ thing is just the usual headline nonsense btw, Can’t see this happening in anything other than the most extreme cases.

    I hope they do something about the whole second home issue as well, It’s got to the stage that pretty much all of the young people on Arran for instance can’t afford a house there, but loads of places sit for the vast majority of the year with no one in them. Not exactly great for the local economy.

    That doesn’t sit right either.

    ninfan
    Member

    o place wealth creation (let alone wealth creation for one already rich person) as the prime determining factor for use of such land is simply moronic.

    It’s not an issue of wealth creation, very few upland areas are substantially profitable (certianly not as an ROI) rather than simply covering their own costs of care and maintenance through income generation – Tourism sounds wonderful as an alternative income for landowners, but it’s seasonal and very difficult to capitalise, you certianly don’t get many hikers willing to pay a thousand pounds a day. Forestry takes too long to pay back, without the tax breaks it wouldn’t, Sheep only make money if stocked at unsustainable levels, again reliant on subsidy, bugger all else grows there except wind farms, and that’s just another subsidy crop.

    You would have to be bloody mad to buy most upland estates, as a get rich quick idea it’s about the worst in the world.

    Rockplough
    Member

    Never mind what we do with it, just finding out who owns everything (the main drive of the bill afaik) would be a great start.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    Nobeerinthefridge – Member

    I think the whole ‘Land grab’ thing is just the usual headline nonsense btw, Can’t see this happening in anything other than the most extreme cases.

    That’s how it feels but tbh good laws should legistlate for that, we’ve got too much history in the UK of laws being passed to do one thing then instantly being used to do something else, or of unintended consequences. I reckon the spirit is pretty clear but that’s no good.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
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    matt_outandabout – Member
    …Personally, I do have a concern about the ‘force em to sell’ attitude. it cannot be good for anyone.

    That’s better than the option the people who were turfed off the land had.

    The glens used to be hooching with people. Get off the beaten track and you can see the remains everywhere.

    Break up the estates, get more small landholders in.

    But first let’s stop subsidising the estates. In this time of Austerity there should be no welfare for the wealthy.

    I grew up in the highlands, I know intimately the stories of the clearances and in fact two great uncles participated in one of the last tenant land grabs in scotland. I also work alongside landowners both big and small, crofters and farmers to get the best out of the land.
    I see both sides of the argument, but as a crofter I also see enormous challenges put in our way by a scottish government entrenched in the pie in the sky townie ideals that insist that they can do a better job of running the highlands. The recent experience for instance of the AECS ( agri environmental climate scheme) which was supposed to be “light touch” has shown how far removed policy makers are from reality – it was if I were cynical, intended to completely dissuade applicants to the scheme.
    Now that I am on my high horse I will turn to community land ownership. To those of you misguided souls who think it is some sort of panacea then think again. Even the most successful and yes high profile community ownership schemes employ very few, AND they usually run out of cash once the feel good support from goverment dries up. Now here is the interesting part for those of you who think community ownership is a great idea. When they run out of cash and will inevitably have to sell up – they can’t! Legislation stops them putting the land back into private ownership. Then who steps in? Well try john Muir trust, RSPB, or some other quango. You think there is no investment now, then try these people as landlords, they will really make the highlands a desperate place to live. They are already working hand in hand with landowners to tie them in knots, reduce public access to the land through fenced in woodland schemes and intent on “rewinlding” the highlands.
    Yes there are massive landowners who would love it if we were removed from their estates and had the hills to themselves, but a considerable amount of landowners run their estates at a loss anyway. They employ people in places that communities simply could not, and in more cases than not can afford to invest sizeable chunks of their own cash in landscapes they are as much a part of as we are.
    In summary, it will require dialogue, people who listen, and people who a bit more informed than some of our present “policy makers”

    Premier Icon seosamh77
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    epicyclo – Member
    hooching

    Hoaching!

    In this time of Austerity there should be no welfare for the wealthy.

    Before we get people on about land owners not being wealthy, well you’ve got the land, if you can’t afford to maintain or run it, sell it. I absolutely agree land owners should not be subsidised. Socialism for the rich doesn’t sit with me, if you’ve vast swathes of land you aren’t struggling.

    athgray
    Member

    Interesting response sangobegger. Legislation sounds like it could be positive if managed properly, but not a one size fits all solution. I am sure there are good large estate owners as well as bad.

    Also, the glens were hoaching during a time of subsistence farming, when people did not expect infrastucture, roads, power, gas, hot water, telephone, or internet. Would take a big shift to move work nearer these areas to coax people there.

    b r
    Member

    Sorry to steal your words, but this would suit most things:

    by a government entrenched in the pie in the sky ideals that insist that they can do a better job of running anything

    b r
    Member

    Lets ignore how the landowners got their land, which tbh isn’t that much different the world over – ‘clearances’ of the Highlands is no different to the Enclosure Acts of England.

    And then look as to what would actually occur; cost to the taxpayer is my guess – not sure in what form though (eg direct or indirect).

    Kit
    Member

    Before we get people on about land owners not being wealthy

    Well there’s little point, since a few of us have already pointed out that land is not that profitable, yet those with the chips on their shoulders won’t listen.

    If all your wealth is tied up in land, then you’re not rich until you sell it…at which point you’re no longer a landowner πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon bigjim
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    In summary, it will require dialogue, people who listen, and people who a bit more informed than some of our present “policy makers”

    therein lies the problem…

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