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Land reform has to be a top priority, says Green candidate for Highlands and Islands

By Alan Hendry

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Ariane Burgess: 'We need more affordable housing and opportunities for young people.'
Ariane Burgess: 'We need more affordable housing and opportunities for young people.'

Green candidate Ariane Burgess is calling for land reform to be a top priority for the next Scottish Parliament.

It would play a crucial role in tackling depopulation in rural communities and the lack of affordable housing, she claimed.

Ms Burgess, the lead candidate for the Scottish Greens in the Highlands and Islands, said: "Everyone should benefit from the land around them and have a say in how it is used, but for far too long huge swathes of our land have been in the hands of a small number of people who are often absent and not interested in how local communities are impacted by their decisions.

"These large estate owners have the power to control the supply of rural housing. This must be changed so communities have the say.

"Wherever I have gone during the campaign people's concerns have been very similar. We need more affordable housing and opportunities for young people, and the questions of who owns our land and how it is used are key to unlocking those challenges."

She added: "There is no question that this is the most important election since devolution. It will decide how we recover from the last year and what kind of society we want to build. The answers can’t all come from politicians in Holyrood – they must be grounded in our communities, and that is what I will focus on if I am elected."

The Scottish Greens say they would:

  • Review take-up of the existing Community Right to Buy and Community Asset Transfer schemes to ensure they are fit for purpose
  • Review the valuation of land so communities are not forced to pay market rates for land to already wealthy landowners
  • Increase support and reduce costs for communities wishing to take charge of land through existing community empowerment legislation
  • Increase the Scottish Land Fund

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