MICHAEL Russell has called for “binding” land reform as a result of the reaction of Scottish people to how the international super-rich want to use a large part of our land as a playground for themselves.

Well Michael is right of course, but we need action from the SNP government, not just words.

As I understand it, the Scottish Government currently has the power, under existing legislation, to establish a land tax in Scotland.

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If this is so, they should be putting a bill through the Scottish Parliament to introduce such a tax for Scotland as a whole, which would of course cover Tayside.

A land tax would give the Scottish Government much greater power over our natural resources, and bring in considerable revenue which is desperately needed at this time of austerity.

The SNP did a good job when they worked with the staff to prevent strikes in the Scottish NHS but we know, and they know, that the problem is far from solved. The Scottish NHS and many other areas of public services need more resources.

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The media, which is controlled by the super-rich, will try to tell us that we can’t address this problem without raising income tax and taking more out of working people’s pockets, but that is another of their big lies. Our land is an excellent source of revenue, and one which does not take money from the working people.

Most of our land is in the hands of the super-rich, many of whom do not live in Scotland. These landowners see the value of their land rise year on year without them doing a thing to earn this wealth, as a result of land values.

If we use land as the basis of our tax system, rather than income, we could put the responsibility for increasing the tax take on the super-rich and not on the people. Now from what I know of politics I would say that such a policy would be a great vote-winner, so why does the SNP leadership not address it?

Andy Anderson

SO Mike Russell has called for action on land reform after The National on Tuesday revealed a US firm’s plans to turn 8000 acres off Loch Tay into a high-security private playground for the super-rich. Russell said it was “another strong argument for radical limits to individual ownership and much increased legally enforceable powers for communities to decide on what happens where they live.” He went on: “We have to stop this constant abuse of communities and the blighting of their future prospects because of the whims of wealthy people backed by powerful lobbying and by a Tory party that is full of landowners and which celebrates privilege.”

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Is this the same Mike Russell, president of the SNP, who was the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Argyll and Bute from 2011 to 2021, having previously served as a list MSP for South of Scotland from 1999 to 2003 and 2007 to 2011, holding three senior cabinet positions during that time?

I suppose the three rather obvious questions are: 1) Why did he not address this problem when he was in government? 2) Why did the SNP government also not address this problem? 3) What are they going to do about it now?

Glenda Burns

THERE are a hell of a lot of protests going on with regard to the American company Discovery Land Company and its attempt to turn the surrounding landscape of Loch Tay and Glenlyon into an exclusive playground for the world’s richest playboys and girls.
Thankfully, Mike Russell has picked this up and supplied another article for National readers to see what is happening to Scotland’s land and environmental purchasing attempts.

However, it needs more than the president of the SNP to create an effective prevention of this land grab by a foreign company from taking place. Whoever is responsible for the environment and land reform should be picking this up right now and doing something about it as a matter of urgency, not only for all of the above but for Scotland in general, as a matter of national concern.

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I note also that Perth and Kinross Council, which is responsible for Loch Tay and Glenlyon, has expressed an interest in this takeover. It should be expressing more of an interest in any planning applications from this American company and refusing outright.

To want to purchase Taymouth Castle and turn it into a playboys’ clubhouse, build homes for the super-rich while providing other advantages, in an exclusive closed shop area of several thousand acres, is detrimental to Scotland, let alone Kenmore and its surrounding environment.

Now is the time for the SNP government to lend its support to Labour’s MSP Mercedes Villalba, who has taken up the land reform cudgel, and pick up the tab by creating some form of land reform legislation.

Alan Magnus-Bennett

IS anyone else as tired as I am of hearing “stop the boats” etc when it must be crystal clear to anyone with a grain of logic that the steps proposed will do nothing to put the people smugglers out of business?

These criminals patently do not care one iota that those who are desperate enough to pay their life savings to be put in small boats may well drown in the Channel. Even if the current crossings were stopped, all these scum would do would be to claim to have found “better”, more secretive, routes, where their victims will not be stopped.  

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Their operations will simply move to some less policed parts of the French coast, where they will put them on the same unsafe boats, perhaps from Brittany to Cornwall, on a more dangerous route on which even more will die.

These criminals need hunted down wherever they operate, and desperate human beings should not be used as tools to discourage them.

P Davidson