People of Scottish descent are to be asked to support the movement towards community land ownership which has already seen more than 500,000 acres transferred from private landlords.
The Scottish Land Trust is being established by Community Land Scotland, the umbrella body for communities, covering around 500,000, who have taken control of their own affairs. These include such high-profile buy-outs as Gigha, South Uist and North Harris.
Speaking at Community Land Scotland’s annual conference in Tarbert, former Government minister, Brian Wilson - who is a director of CLS - said that the new Trust would give exiles ‘an alternative to putting their money into stately homes and lifeless artefacts.’
He said: “It is the dark history of private landlordism that created such a vast Scottish diaspora in the first place. Some of them might think supporting land reform is a good and relevant way of making a difference in 21st century Scotland”.
Mr Wilson said the Trust was not intended as a substitute for restoration of the Scottish Land Fund which supported earlier buy-outs but has now been scrapped.
“Re-establishing proper public funding to support an ongoing programme of land reform must be the first priority.
“The Trust will simply be another source of support for communities with ambitions to tap into. It is always difficult to know if these things will strike a chord, so there are no targets and no over-ambitious claims about what it might raise.”
David Cameron, chairman of Community Land Scotland, said they intended to seek charitable status for the Trust and hoped to formally launch it later this year, with ambassadors in Scottish communities around the world.