5. Schedule 2
5.1 This chapter presents analysis of responses to the remaining five consultation questions, concerning Schedule 2.
Responses to Question Twenty-Five: Do you have any comments on the usefulness of the PSC regime in revealing control of corporate entities which own land in Scotland?
5.2 A quantitative summary of responses to question twenty-five is provided below:
|25: Do you have any comments on the usefulness of the PSC regime in revealing control of corporate entities which own land in Scotland?||9||10|
5.3 There were six substantive responses to this question. Ten participants skipped the question and three stated they had no further comments.
5.4 Two participants highlighted the relevance of the PSC regime in terms of a model that the new Register could learn from and the current degree of effectiveness of the PSC regime in revealing control of corporate entities owning land in Scotland. They gave several examples to support these statements.
5.5 Other comments in reference to PSC are summarised below:
- One participant suggested that as the purpose of the RCI is different to that of the PSC Register, the terminology should reflect that, and take account of the principal objective of the RCI.
- One participant stated that they had no direct experience with the PSC Regime but that they had received feedback it was useful.
- One participant repeated a view expressed elsewhere that further clarity was required as to who is exempt from the regulations in addition to the entities set out in Schedule 2 for example, a cohabiting partner or spouse. They referenced Part 2 of Schedule 1 and state that this section requires that an owner consult the PSC regulations to establish if they are required to comply or not.
- Another gave a detailed response in which they note that the purposes of the Register of Controlled Interests in Land and the PSC Register overlap but they also note that the purposes of these Registers are not identical. They suggest changes to the language used in the regulations and guidance which have been signposted to the Scottish Government for review.
Responses to Question Twenty-Six: Do you have any comments on our proposals to not require SCIOs, CIOs, mutual or public authorities to provide information for inclusion in the Register?
5.6 A quantitative summary of responses to question twenty-six is provided below:
|26: Do you have any comments on our proposals to not require SCIOs, CIOs, mutuals or public authorities to provide information for inclusion in the Register?||12||7|
5.7 There were eight substantive responses to this question. Seven participants skipped the question and four stated they had no further comments.
5.8 Most participants agreed with the proposals not to require SCIOs, CIOs, mutuals or public authorities to provide information for inclusion in the Register.
5.9 Four participants made short responses that simply confirmed they agreed with these exclusions.
5.10 A further three participants stated they agreed with the exclusions and made the following additional comments:
- One participant described these exclusions as reasonable but noted that if there were to be a change in the law in relation to SCIOs these exclusions should be revisited. They also called for clarity as to whether any land owned by 'Council arms-length companies' would be included in the Register.
- Another agreed that there should be a consistent approach to exclusions but argued that the grounds in which the current exclusions have been decided should also apply to statutory bodies such as public corporations and organisations created by specific stature.
- One participant noted that they agreed with the exclusions but suggested that they should be widened to include all charities regardless of how they are constituted. They support this statement with examples for consideration. Given the level of detail in this response it has been signposted directly to the Scottish Government. This respondent echoed other responses to this question by stating that a contact address for every charity in Scotland is already publicly available via the OSCR Charity Register.
5.11 One participant suggested that the proposal to exempt public bodies is counterintuitive if the goal of the Register is transparency.
Responses to Question Twenty-Seven: Do you agree with the conclusions in the impact assessments?
5.12 A quantitative summary of responses to question twenty-seven is provided below:
|27: Do you agree with the conclusions in the impact assessments?||9||10|
5.13 There were six substantive responses to this question. Ten participants did not respond to the question and three stated they had no further comments.
5.14 Four participants expressed agreement with the conclusions in the impact assessments; however, one noted that further work would be required to develop robustness in terms of estimates of costs associated with compliance.
5.15 The other responses are summarised below:
- One participant suggested that there could be significant costs associated with complying with the regulations.
- Another participant gave a detailed response to this question. This participant made a number of points to indicate that they do not agree with the conclusions in the impact assessments. They argue that the justification of the inclusion of information about the month and year of birth in the Register is weak and indicated disagreement with the expectation that the benefits of transparency will outweigh the costs of compliance.
Responses to Question Twenty-Eight: Are there potential impacts that we have not considered?
5.16 A quantitative summary of responses to question twenty-eight is provided below:
|28: Are there potential impacts that we have not considered?||13||6|
5.17 There were nine substantive responses to this question. Six participants skipped the question and four stated they had no further comments.
5.18 Five participants expressed agreement that there were no other potential impacts to identify. Another expressed qualified agreement, noting however that further work is required to estimate the costs of compliance.
5.19 Two raised specific points in relation to the business and environmental impact assessments:
- One participant suggested a rewording in 4 (1) of Part 2 of Schedule 1 of the draft Regulations from 'Scottish qualifying partnerships' to 'eligible Scottish partnerships' as this would include Scottish Limited Partnerships as those are subject to the same PSC disclosure requirements as Scottish qualifying partnerships.
- Another said they have considered the environmental impact and that it could have an impact on rural areas and businesses if investment is deterred.
5.20 Several repeated points they had made elsewhere in their consultation response, namely:
- A call for a clear statement of exempt persons or circumstances including for example a couple where one party is the legal owner of the house, but both reside.
- One reiterated a point made in response to earlier consultation questions querying the definition of 'associate'.
- Another reiterated a concern regarding the cost and difficulty to landowners and their associates of compliance with the Regulations.
- One reiterated their response to question twenty-seven concerning the unique structure of this organisation and the nature of how the Requirements may affect it.
Responses to Question Twenty-Nine: What measures, if any do you think we should take to inform and publicise information about land in Scotland
5.21 A quantitative summary of responses to question twenty-nine is provided below:
|29: What measures, if any do you think we should take to inform and publicise information about land in Scotland?||14||5|
5.22 There were twelve substantive responses to this question. Five participants did not respond to question and two said they had no further comments.
5.23 A common theme in these responses were calls for a high-profile approach to advertising the new Regulations. Participants suggested this could involve a national media campaign, specifically targeting those in sectors which are likely to have greatest reach among individuals who will be affected by the new regulations.
5.24 Four participants suggested that the Scottish Government should consider using the model of the ScotLIS system, on the basis of its reliability. They described it as a good resource for professionals and laypersons alike.
5.25 Three participants took the opportunity to reiterate concerns they had about the accessibility of new Register for members of the general public, describing the proposed arrangements as complex, difficult and time-consuming.
5.26 One highlighted an inconsistency in costs for people searching for information; any details recorded on the new Register can be accessed without charge, but to establish whether or not a property belongs to an owner who is not controlled, users will need to use ScotLIS, which requires payment.
5.27 One participant called for ongoing consultation and communication with their organisation. They emphasised points made elsewhere in their consultation response about alternative ways to access existing information that can provide transparency about land ownership by charities.