JUST 432 families – or 0.008% of Scotland’s population – own half of the country’s private rural land, and a new report considers how that imbalance can be changed.

Revive, the coalition for grouse moor reform, commissioned the New Economics Foundation and Common Weal to produce Our Land, which examines what steps could be taken by the Scottish Government to tackle the problems surrounding land ownership and use.

It said that for years there has been a groundswell of civil society dissatisfaction about how our land is owned and managed, but what was perhaps missing was a “coherent roadmap” of steps that could be taken to remedy this.

The document says landowners have benefited greatly from “unearned” rises in the price of land, which have surpassed the gains made elsewhere in the country.

As well as individuals’ ownership of land, more than 750,000 acres of land in Scotland is owned by companies registered in offshore tax havens.

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch video column: Why should we wait until indy to tackle land reform?

Revive says land is not like other possessions or assets: “This is not a market in which demand can stimulate more supply, but one in which a fixed asset is somehow divided between competing interests.

“Land is fundamental to the existence of nation states and the land of any nation is inherently finite.

“We wouldn’t allow an entity to claim ownership of all of our water or air, as these are prerequisites for life, yet we treat land more like a consumer good than a fundamental foundation of existence.”

It says reform is viewed as a “key foundation” of revitalised rural communities and a way to meet some of the 21st century’s key challenges, such as rising economic inequality and climate change.

Revive makes a series of recommendations to achieve land reform, including a rethink of land taxation through a land value tax or, its favoured flat rate property tax for all private owners of land and buildings.

Although it is currently outwith Scottish Government control, the report suggests consideration should be given to how inheritance tax and land subsidies would be reformed post-independence. The Scottish Land Register should be completed, ensuring it is transparent and free to access, with only land that is properly registered being eligible for tax breaks and subsidies.

Consideration should be given to introducing a cap on land holdings, along with community participation in planning, and reforming local democracy to better distribute power and land ownership. A Land Agency should also be established – extending the planning system to rural land and addressing the rural housing crisis.

The Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) should set up a well-capitalised, land-based business investment fund.

Deer and grouse management should also be reformed to develop and implement a “sustainable land strategy that works in the public interest”.

The report concludes that land ownership in Scotland is far more than a social justice issue.

It goes on to add: “What becomes possible after land reform could be one of the most hopeful opportunities for the Scottish nation.”

In a foreword to the report, The National columnist and land campaigner Lesley Riddoch was sure about the type of reform she wants: “We need the kind of regulation that’s normal in countries like Norway, even though it has around 5000 times more private owners of land than Scotland.

“With much less of a land scarcity problem, they still have far greater restrictions and decades of experience from which we can learn.

“Scotland, by contrast is like the Wild West – unregulated, untaxed, uninhibited and uninhabited.”