12. Provision for or in connection with enabling a Part 3A community body to apply for the cost of ballot expenses to be reimbursed
Section 97J(7) of the 2003 Act allows Ministers to, by regulations make provision for, or in connection with, enabling a Part 3A community body, in such circumstances as may be specified in the regulations, to apply to them to seek reimbursement of the expense of conducting a ballot under this section.
The Scottish Government considers that it was not appropriate for Ministers to meet the cost of the ballot at the outset of the Part 3A community right to buy process, however they consider that, in certain circumstances, the community body should be reimbursed the cost of the ballot when an application for reimbursement of the cost is received by Ministers upon completion of the Part 3A right to buy process.
The proposals outline the circumstances in which Part 3A community bodies should be able to seek reimbursement of the ballot costs.
The Scottish Government is considering whether Part 3A community bodies may apply for reimbursement of the cost of conducting the ballot in some or all of the following circumstances:
- The Part 3A application has been consented to by Scottish Ministers;
- The land has been transferred to the Part 3A community body;
- The ballot for which reimbursement costs are claimed from Scottish Ministers by the Part 3A community body must have been conducted in accordance with the ballot provisions contained within section 97J of Part 3A of the 2003 Act, and the ballot provisions that are prescribed under section 97J(2);
- The community must have approved the Part 3A community body's proposal to buy the land in accordance with section 97J(1) of the 2003 Act by way of the ballot for which the reimbursement of expenses are claimed.
Question 10: Do you agree with these proposals?
There were six responses to this question, with four agreeing with the proposals and two disagreeing.
Question 10a: If not, please explain
There were three responses to this question.
Community Land Advisory Service stated that it was unclear whether or not all of the conditions had to be met, or just some. It considered that the only conditions should be; the ballot was conducted in accordance with the Act and it was reasonable for Ministers to provide reimbursement. It did not think that community approval should be a condition.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise questioned whether the right to buy process should be completed before reimbursement could be claimed. It considered that community bodies should be able to claim for compensation at the earliest opportunity. It did not state when that would be.
Scottish Land & Estates stated that reimbursement of costs should only be given when all of the conditions were met.
Question 10b: Are there any other circumstances under which
you believe a community body should be able to apply for
There were three responses to this question. One simply stated that it had no suggestions; another referred to its previous answer.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise suggested that as long as the application is deemed competent, then compensation should still be paid where Ministers do not consent to that application.
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