Speaking following the report by the Land Reform Review Group, crofter and MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Angus Brendan MacNeil said:
“This report by the Land Reform Review Group recommending changes to Scottish society is a hugely important landmark. For too long the pattern of land ownership has left large concentrations of land in the hands of too few. This is an opportunity to change that by giving tenant farmers the right to buy, by putting business rates in sporting estates and to end the principle of primogeniture, an area where England led the way years ago and Scotland should now follow.
“Changes to land ownership could make a huge difference to the way people experience life in Scotland, coming from an island where there are no large estates but entirely under crofting control, I can see a similarity.
“For too long, many in Scotland have thought the land was something forbidden to them.
“Almost 20 years ago I was told by Shelter Scotland that the rate of second home ownership in Scotland was 3% and I knew we had a problem with housing in many parts of the country. However, I was very surprised to discover from Shelter Scotland that the rate of second home ownership in Norway, was 3 to 4 times that. The difference was that there were enough houses built in Norway for the demand whereas in Scotland there were too few.
“A final point, in the changing land use that will be expected following this hopefully ground breaking report is that local authorities in a number of parts of the country, particularly the Highlands, must respond by making land use more open and not restricting it by the artificial means of planning permission restrictions.
“For too long, too many have had to live with either overpriced or substandard housing, an obscenity in a country were land is in abundance and people are in short supply.”