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Highlands parliamentary candidate targets housing shortage and overhaul of land ownership


By Louise Glen

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Molly Nolan.
Molly Nolan.

Liberal Democrat candidate Molly Nolan will this weekend seek her party’s support for new plans to tackle the Highlands housing shortage and overhaul land ownership.

Ms Nolan, who is her Party’s land reform spokesperson, warned the Scottish Government’s existing land reform policies “do not go far enough to ensure that young people and families are supported to remain in their communities in adulthood.”

According to the Registers of Scotland, Highland house prices rose from £107,639 in 2004 to £185,178 in 2019 - well above the Scottish average. However, the Scottish Government has built fewer than half of the homes promised in rural areas and islands in 2016.

The package of proposals, which are expected to be in the Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto for the forthcoming Scottish Parliamentary elections, include:

  • Replace property-based council tax with a locally administered land value tax, encouraging a more proportional system of taxation and fairer use of land.
  • Expand the Scottish Land Fund to facilitate further community ownership across Scotland.
  • Institute a First Time Builders Fund to support population growth in rural areas that lack housing stock.

Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross Molly Nolan said: “It cannot be right that Scotland still has one of the most concentrated land ownership patterns in the world, with over half of rural areas owned by just 432 landowners.

“The SNP’s existing land reform policies do not go far enough to ensure that young people and families are supported to remain in their communities in adulthood.

“Radical land reform can be the key to the door for putting local residents back at the heart of their communities, and I look forward to the Liberal Democrats leading the charge.”

Cllr Denis Rixson, Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, added: "The Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated the housing crisis communities across the Highlands and Islands, where demand for housing has soared.

"We need to tackle land reform head on, not just tinker with it. The next Scottish Government must also address the barriers to building homes across the Highlands and Islands, starting with higher building costs."

Read more about Molly Nolan by clicking here.


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