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Scotland's Radical Land Reform

Loch Leven




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In June 2015 the Scottish Government introduced radical proposals for land reform. Local communities would gain a new right to ask the government to force a landowner to sell their land if they are deemed a barrier to sustainable development. The plan caused uproar amongst landowners. David Cameron's father-in-law, Lord Astor, claimed the SNP was staging a Mugabe-style land grab. Yet campaigners in the growing cross-party movement for reform see this as just the start of a generational mission to break up the most unequal pattern of land ownership in the developed world. Is this an attack on the right of individuals to hold on to their property - or a much-needed step towards sustainable development?

Euan McIlwraith asks why so few people own so much of Scotland, whether it matters, and how you can legitimately diversify ownership in a 21st century liberal democracy.

First broadcast on BBC Analysis on October 18, 2015
Producer: Liza Grieg.