Land Reform in Scotland: Final Report - Scottish Affairs Contents

1  Introduction

1. The Committee published Land Reform in Scotland: Interim Report in March 2014.[1] This report identified key issues and questions arising from the written and oral evidence we had taken following the publication of the 432:50-Towards a comprehensive land reform agenda for Scotland briefing paper published by the Committee in July 2013.[2]

2. Our interim report and the 432:50 paper both set out the case for a comprehensive land reform agenda. Oxfam Scotland told us that:

    the starting point for effective land reform needs to be a recognition that political and economic change in Scotland has delivered for the better off, but has simultaneously generated substantial poverty, an intensification of the way in which it is experienced and its concentration in particular localities.[3]

3. The interim report identified four topics on which we wished to hear further evidence. These were: whether the ownership of estates through charitable companies set up by private owners is in the public interest and how governance of such organisations should best be organised; how the fiscal framework of agricultural land might be reformed to meet the concerns of tenant farmers; how the new Common Agricultural Policy framework can best support farmers; and the extent to which land is owned in offshore jurisdictions as part of individual corporate tax planning.

4. Since the publication of the interim report we have taken evidence from HM Revenue and Customs, Tax Research UK, Global Witness, the Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland and Rio Tinto Alcan to address these questions. This report sets out the developments since the publication of the interim report, notably the work of the Land Reform Review Group established by the Scottish Government in 2012, the publication of their final report The Land of Scotland and the Common Good and the Scottish Government's Consultation on the Future of Land Reform in Scotland. The Scottish Government have also published their Review of Agricultural Holdings Legislation in January 2015.

1   Scottish Affairs Committee, Eighth Report of Session 2013-14, Land Reform in Scotland: Interim Report, HC 877  Back

2   Scottish Affairs Committee, 432:50 Towards a comprehensive land reform agenda for Scotland Back

3   Oxfam Scotland (LRS0048) para 3 Back

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Prepared 26 March 2015