SNP ministers have admitted they do not know if their controversial land reform plans will damage food production despite warnings they risk breaking up family farms.
The Scottish Government confirmed it has conducted no analysis of the impact of their radical proposals on the output of the country’s food sector despite stating it is worth £790 million per year.
In the long term who holds land, who can inherit it (by right that is, not choice) is one of the most important determinants of whether land holdings are of an economic size.
Critics have also warned that the SNP’s plans to overhaul the law of succession, giving a greater number of relatives a right to inherit a share of family farm, would cause some to be broken up into holdings too small to be economically viable.
Yep. One can argue, sa Napoleon did, that offering all children an equal right to real property will break up the vast estates. And if that’s what you want to do it will. But the same rights will lead, over time, to the smaller holdings being broken up as well until everyone’s got a half acre and the only possible crop is potatoes. As happened in Ireland early 1800s. And it was the British that imposed those inheritance laws in order to break up the Catholic estates too.
The SNP might have some romantic idea of crofters everywhere. Or an anti-elistist idea of breaking up Buccleugh’s estate or summat. But farming’s really not going to be more efficient if a few generations down the line everyone ends up with a veg patch and room for a pig.