Question of land

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It was very telling that in last Thursday’s election debate, none of the party representatives, not even the leader of the Greens, raised the issue of land costs and availability in terms of the dilemma faced in housing supply.

Nigel Farage mooted this as a supply and demand problem.

The facile inanity of this outlook is incredible in the enormity of its misunderstanding.

There is no shortage of supply of building materials or the skilled labour to turn them into living homes. The shortage is in the availability of land at a suitable cost.

Land is in fixed supply, all the land that is going to be made, has already been made and it cannot respond to supply and demand economics.

It was Benjamin Disraeli, who pointed out that all the great problems of politics eventually come down to the ownership of land.

There is probably no place in Western Europe where the acuity of his perception is more valid than in Scotland, where the iniquities of the inequity of the participation in private land tenure, lie behind much of our social and economic problems.

The SNP, so far, have not fully grasped the full potential of land reform, let alone seriously commit to meaningful change.

However, macro-economic circumstances and the outright perniciousness of the British establishment in hanging on to its last colony, will hopefully drag, however reluctantly, both Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney to the realisation that their social and economic aspirations, including obviating the oil-price volatility problem, can only be attained by collecting the land rental value of the 30 per cent of the land surface area, 50 per cent of the marine solum and 70 per cent of the coastline of the current UK, that is Scotland.

Ron Greer

Blair Atholl

Perthshire

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