Hello. I am David Clarke and welcome to the Turcan Connell video cast on issues facing landowners. I’m here with expert, Grierson Dunlop, and we’re going to be talking about land reform; a particularly pertinent issue in Scotland after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said at the end of last year that she wanted radical reform in this area. So, Grierson, what’s the philosophy behind these reforms and what effect do you think they will have on landowners if they are actually implemented?
Well the main philosophy behind these proposals is to bring in what the Scottish government deem to be a fairer system of land ownership, when there are more people involved or have a stake in the ownership, they use the management of land in Scotland. And I think the greatest impact for land-owning clients and landowners in Scotland would be a fettering or some degree of government control on their ability to use that land in the way that they deem fit. And there is a possibility that those controls brought in by government could have an effect on the value of those land holdings.
So which particular proposals do you think will have the greatest impact?
Well, I think there is a distinction to be drawn between certain proposals, which are less controversial, and others, which are much more controversial. Two particular proposals, which, if they were to come in, would have an impact, is the proposal, firstly, that there would be a restriction on the amount of land, which any individual or entity could own; and secondly, there is a proposal suggesting that the entities, which own land, must be more transparent and there could be a restriction on foreign companies or foreign entities owning land in Scotland, which is the case at present.
And I suppose the main question then is what effect this will have on the market – do you think these reforms, if they come into law, would they actually inhibit people from buying land in Scotland?
I think that’s a great concern for anybody involved in land in Scotland. Any uncertainty, which we have at the moment – we had a great deal of uncertainty last year leading up to the referendum – and with the land reform agenda very much in front of us, there is a concern that this uncertainty could dissuade people from investing in land in Scotland. If the proposals actually become law, and we do not know yet in what shape or form they will become law, then that may itself also deter people from coming to Scotland; but, as yet, we do not know and it’s important we do not send out a negative message, but there’s always a concern from advisors that any changes of the type proposed could have an effect on people’s willingness to come to Scotland.
Thank you, Grierson. So, for more information on what Turcan Connell can do for you and how it can help you if you’re a landowner go to turcanconnell.com.