- Land is too expensive. Most people are aware of the affordable housing crisis, fewer know that the price of agricultural land has trebled in the past decade.
- Current policy drives land away from common good use. Subsidies and taxation both limit the social, economic and environmental productivity of land and encourage people to treat it as a speculative asset.
- Land ownership in the UK is among the most concentrated in the world, with almost 70% of the land owned by 0.6% of the population.
- Poor public awareness of both historic and current land struggles.
- All these problems are exacerbated by a lack of transparent information on land ownership and use.
The passing of the Scottish Land Reform Bill and the Brexit vote have stimulated a wider debate about UK land reform in the media. In response to this increasing momentum, we want to work with others to develop and test a shared agenda for land reform.
What needs to change:
- The UK government should make it clear that land is a common good that should be managed in the public interest, and work with other stakeholders to explore the implications of this.
- Communities need better mechanisms and support for purchasing land where they can improve its management.
- Agricultural subsidies and inheritance tax relief need reform, and a land value tax should be given serious consideration.
- We need to increase public awareness of the interconnected issues of land ownership and inequality.
- We need free, open, and complete records of land ownership.
- We have participated in several conferences and discussions around the UK on the issue of land reform, most recently hosting Land for What and Creating Common Good Land Use in London.
- Learning from Land Reform – a project collecting learning from land movements in the different parts of the UK.
- We are campaigning for the Land Registry to be opened up, meaning free and transparent access to ownership information.
- Land for What is a network of individuals and organisations, that is exploring common ground between different struggles related to land use, and developing an agenda for reform.
- Access to Land is a study exploring access to land for agro-ecological farming across Europe.
- Who Owns England is a blog by Guy Shrubsole investigating land ownership in England
- The Land Magazine is a must-read occasional for anyone interested in land use
Scroll down to the posts below to read the latest updates on our work in this policy area.
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The potential implications of leaving the EU are huge, and UK will now have to address environmental policy making for the first time in many years. We believe there are significant opportunities to create a new, replenishing relationship between people and the environment, by considering the future of land use in its fullest sense. The creation of a better, more ambitious and more sustainable agri-environment subsidy scheme could be one of the most important expressions of this.
This report was created as a briefing for the conference on Creating Common Good Land Use, which Shared Assets is hosting on 8 December 2016.
The briefing includes a short introductory segment on the issues facing common good land use, key discussion questions, what we’ve learnt about the issue, what we think needs changing and what we intend to do about it. It also includes an action plan for moving forward to create common good land use throughout the UK. [Read the full briefing here]
Our response to the UK Government’s consultation paper on moving Land Registry operations to the private sector. Download here.