June 16, 2020
Built in resilience
Whether it’s by accident or design is a matter of some debate, but the fact that Scotland has such a strong and diverse community sector has certainly enabled the country’s response to this crisis. Some might argue that if we had a genuinely ‘local’ level of local government the response would have been designed and delivered quite differently. But we are where we are with that one and until it is resolved, community groups of shapes and sizes continue to fill the gap. Local resilience seems to be a crucial factor. Great piece highlighting the contribution of community landowners.
To read the full report – Built in resilience
What the coronavirus emergency has clearly underlined, is that the community
ownership model ensures a local resilience. Not only should that not be lost, it should
be extended to new areas as an integral element in government thinking on how
best to rebuild Scotland. The strength of communities who own their own assets –
be they large estates like Galson, or inner-city centres like Kinning Park – have been
tested and produced amazing results. Their innovative and risk appropriate responses
to this crisis have been founded on their local strengths in engagement, trust and
organisation. How can we build on this and ensure the progress made won’t be lost?
Community Land Scotland has already made a compelling case to Ministers and
MSPs for a bold ‘Rural New Deal’ embracing further land reform, as a driver of
economic recovery and a means of building a greener future. Community landowners
have already led the way in renewable energy generation and conservation.
The Scottish Land Fund should continue to operate but with a significantly increased
budget, up to £20m a year. This would provide the investment necessary to ensure
that there is new momentum to community acquisitions across Scotland, continuing
Scotland’s strong tradition of investing in its local communities to help them address
the needs and opportunities of their own local areas.
A Land Value Tax and other fiscal measures should be considered, to reduce the
inflated land values which only currently help ensure that so much land is owned by a
A supplementary charge to the Land and Buildings Transactions Tax for private sales
of large rural estates over a certain size, could help finance the Scottish Land Fund.
The Fund in turn would support more community buyouts and provide ongoing
support for those already purchased.
Community Land Scotland’s Policy Director Calum MacLeod said:
“Now is the time for bold thinking and the political will to make that happen. We need
more community land and asset ownership because it’s a proven model of enhancing
the resilience of rural and urban communities. That’s why we’re calling for retention
and expansion of the £10m Scottish Land Fund up to £20m annually to provide the
necessary investment to ensure that scaling-up of community land ownership across
He said that while the economic storm created by the coronavirus had to be addressed
urgently, so too did the climate emergency which had not gone away.
“Community landowners have already led the way in renewable energy generation and
conservation. The more community landowners there are, the greater their contribution
to a Green economic recovery would be. This would be achieved by ensuring the
sustainable management of land for carbon capture and renewables development –
leading to payments for public goods to address the climate emergency – which are
reinvested in our communities. Strengthening further those communities and giving
them the tools to help address both local problems and global problems.
We need a Rural New Deal, diversifying how land and other assets such as forests and
marine resources are owned and used so as to deliver the climate change mitigation
and adaptions, affordable housing, employment creation and growth that are essential
to the sustainability of our rural places and to delivering wider public benefits.”
Ministers must listen. Nobody should think that returning to the way things were
before the pandemic, would be a goal worthy of all the effort, loss and sacrifice.