Who Owns Scotland?
Calls for reform by electors of the grossly unfair feudal system of land distribution and ownership in Scotland are persistently ignored by an SNP government which gives matters of lesser importance a higher priority.
Owners of huge estates are comprised of dukes, peers and carpetbaggers whose inherited lands were gifted to them courtesy of the “clearances” which forced many hundreds of thousands of Scots from their lands and country in support of the aims and aspirations of a corrupted system of privilege benefiting the lickspittles of British gentry. And the “New School” landowners are made up of foreign based rich businessmen and English institutions. This article highlights one such institution:
The Church of England;
Owns land and forestry estates in Scotland with a combined size larger than Renfrewshire. All of which is business rates and tax free. Adding insult to injury the church is rewarded with a near £800k annual tax free subsidy from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to maintain the land courtesy of the Scottish taxpayer. And all profits from their Scottish lands goes back to England to be invested in all sorts of weird, and dubious ventures.
The Church of England operates a Charitable Foundation with a book value in excess of 10bn
The foundation is managed by Church Commissioners and accrues tax free interest providing around 16% of the Church’s annual income requirements.
The foundation also inherits the wills of bishop’s and cathedrals adding to the overall income. Such wills and are comprised of large tracts of land and buildings which are let to farmers generating income which is used to meet the salaries and accommodation of the clergy.
The church left huge areas of land undeveloped and capitalised on it at the time of the Industrial Revolution which brought with it a massive expansion of towns and cities in England.
Many of these ancient land holdings in England and abroad still remain in the church’s’ ownership, e.g. the highly valued Hyde Park Estate in West London. And the church still benefits financially from ownership of many other prime central London residential property’s, department stores and media outlets built on this land.
Up to the end of WW2 the bulk of the church’s assets was in real estate and government securities, but the church commissioners widened the portfolio of investments to include; shares, bonds, commercial property, (including purchase of land for coal mining and planting of forestry) and other many other business assets.
In the latter part of the 20th century the task of managing the fund overwhelmed the church commissioners and the Archbishop of Canterbury asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Governor of the Bank of England to appoint policy committee to advise the commissioners’ about ethical investment policy.
Over time the role of the policy advisory committee diminished in favour of retaining professional, “Fund Managers” who are expected to subscribe to the commissioners approach to ethical investments, which is always to avoid a short term quick profit in favour of more secure long term returns.
The Church of England investment portfolio includes ownership and development of forestry in the South of Scotland in excess of 120,000 acres. The ” Fund managers” claimed around £6m (tax free) from the CAP over a period of 10 years.
In December 2014: U.P.M. (Sweden) sold around 6500 hectares of land and 14 large forests to the Church of England for £51m. A contract rider ensures U.P.M. Tilhill will be contracted by the church to maintain then harvest the timber on its Scottish estates over many years. A multi-million £ contract any taxes on the profits from which will be given over to the government’s of Sweden and England.