Selfish owners

Douglas McAdam’s letter (13 August) could be filed under “he would say that, wouldn’t he?”

He calls for a modern, mature debate on land use but that is unlikely to happen until rural land ownership is more widely and democratically spread.

Many land owners, both private and companies, are quite selfish in their use of land. They prevent more efficient community use and try to maximise their own revenue at the expense of the community and the environment.

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On top of that, their contribution in tax and other revenues is minimised by tax avoidance schemes, company transfers, trusts and the other financial methods which, while nominally legal, are questionable on moral grounds.

We need much more community ownership where the land is used for the benefit of the whole local community, not some owner often based far away.

Included in this should be the dismantling of the Crown Estates. We need to remove this undemocratic feudalism.

Bruce D Skivington

Strath

Gairloch, Wester Ross

True, we need land reform (Lesley Riddoch, Perspective, 12 August), but why no mention of the reform that is urgently needed to cut the Gordian knot of the council tax, an unfair charge on householders?

I refer to a switch to land value tax (LVT), a tax on land and not on whatever is built on it (or not built on it). LVT has long been advocated by writer and reformer Andy Wightman and has only been adopted as policy by the Scottish Green Party.

Steuart Campbell

Edinburgh

Leslie Riddoch’s article does not stir me into action. If I wanted to farm I would look for an 
agricultural tenancy. I would not wish to tie up my capital in making a purchase.

As it is, I have, with reasonable limitations, the right to roam so the mountains are mine for free.

Is it so unfair that 500 people own half the land in Scotland? Concentrations of power are part of modern life.

What about banks, drug companies and suppliers of milk etc? Should Microsoft and Apple 
divest their power? What about supermarket chains? Is land so 
sacred that it should be singled out? This is an issue that may seem more important in country areas. If, however, I lived in Sutherland, as my ancestors did, I would want broadband. Is the availability of this not more important to isolated communities?

I am told the Scottish Government has recruited civil servants to look at this issue. The University of Edinburgh has set up a broadband service in Skye and the mainland adjoining it .

Should well wishers like Lesley Riddoch not investigate what the university is doing and what, so far, the Scottish Government is not doing? Would this not be more use to folks who live in rural areas?

Hugh Mackay

Edinburgh