Today could turn out to be an historic day for Scotland. At last, the way our land is owned, used, traded and subsidised is being put under some long overdue close scrutiny. There is still an awful long way to go before meaningful Land Reform takes place - and powerful vested interests will need to be taken on - but this is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
Unbelievably the simple question of 'Who owns what?' in Scotland is still not fully answered, but of course many landowners enjoy and subsequently benefit from such blurry murkiness. So the first task, as this report points out, is to create a robust public register of Scotland's land. Vitally, this report also starts to throw some light on the huge tax-break, tax evasion, corporate investment and massive subsidy sink-hole that much of Scotland's land has become. I watch with interest and I live in hope.
'In a Report published on Thursday 20 March 2014, the Scottish Affairs Committee says any government which is serious about land reform needs full and clear information on existing land ownership and values made widely available.
'The Committee says Scotland lags behind most comparable European countries in providing such data and calls on the Scottish and UK Governments to address this as a priority.
'The Committee heard that Scotland is also “miles behind” other countries in terms of the openness and ease of land transactions. Templates exist which allow land transactions to become simple and straightforward, without the involvement of lawyers.' (UK Parliament article & interim report).