Consultation on comprehensive land reform in Scotland launched

15 July 2013

The Scottish Affairs Committee Chair is calling for an end to "tax avoidance and subsidy milking" by landowners in Scotland.

The Commons Scottish Affairs Committee is today launching an open consultation on a programme of comprehensive land reform in Scotland. The Committee has commissioned a briefing paper from four notable land experts and is inviting responses from all sectors of society in Scotland and the UK more widely.

The paper describes how almost half of all privately-owned rural land in Scotland is owned by 432 landowners, who under current law receive large public subsidies but are liable for low levels of taxation on land.

The paper follows an exchange in the House of Commons between Scottish Affairs Committee Ian Davidson MP and the Prime Minister:

Mr Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West) (Lab/Co-op): I welcome the statement from the European Council and the Government, which says that proper information on 'who really controls every company' will be provided. Will the Government cooperate with the Scottish Affairs Committee in establishing who owns and controls the great landed estates in Scotland, in order that they can minimise both tax avoidance and subsidy milking?


The Prime Minister: That is the intention of this move. Having all countries sign up to an action plan for putting together registers of beneficial ownership by companies and the rest of it will help tax authorities make sure that people are paying tax appropriately. That is a debate that we are leading at the G8 and in the European Union.

The Committee is inviting written responses to the paper and will subsequently hold formal evidence sessions.

Please Note:

As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and to maximise efficiency, the Committee is piloting a new web portal for online submissions of written evidence. Written submissions for this inquiry should therefore be sent via the Scottish Affairs Committee website

Please click the link below:

Further information:

Guide for witnesses (PDF PDF 431 KB)Opens in a new window

Provides detailed guidance for individuals and organisations giving written or oral evidence to a House of Commons select committee.

Image: iStockphoto

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