Land reform: Green candidate Wightman on tax dodgers and derelict sites

Scottish Greens are stepping up their campaign for bolder action on tax dodgers, derelict land and farming tenancies as the Land Reform Bill heads for a final vote in parliament tomorrow (16 March).

Today, Andy Wightman, land reform spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP candidate for Lothian, has published a blog revealing that companies owned by the Buccleuch Estates use tax havens in the Cayman Islands.

Tomorrow, Patrick Harvie, Scottish Green MSP for Glasgow, will press amendments to the Bill to restrict ownership by companies using British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies such as the Cayman Islands. He will also press an amendment aimed at giving local authorities the ability to tax vacant or derelict land.

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, will press an amendment aimed at supporting tenant farmers. The SNP has promised a consultation; Alison’s amendment will force ministers to outline a timescale for this.

Alison and AndyAndy Wightman, land reform spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP candidate for Lothian, said:

“The corporate affairs of the Buccleuch Group I can reveal today underline the need for bold land reform legislation. The SNP have been timid on this issue and I am proud that Green colleagues in parliament will continue to push to strengthen the Bill. Scottish land should not be owned by companies using tax havens.

“On derelict land, ministers, pressed by Greens, have admitted this can be brought into the valuation system now but by enshrining this point in legislation we can hold them to their word. “On the hugely complex issue of farming tenancies, my colleague Alison Johnstone’s amendment would ensure ministers have a timescale for action as the continuing uncertainty for tenant farmers is unacceptable.”