Publication - FOI/EIR release

Spend and continued support re community purchased land: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
3 Aug 2018
Spend and continued support re community purchased land: FOI release

FOI reference: FOI/18/01983
Date received: 20 July 2018
Date responded: 2 August 2018

Information requested

Would you please send me details of all the money spent so far on community purchase of land and the numbers of people in the communities that the money benefited since the SNP government took charge of the policy of community purchase of Scottish land until the present day. Please include current applications for funding as well as future funding estimates for those registered but not quite purchased yet. On a year by year basis.

Also please detail separately how much money Scottish Government has had to commit annually to manage and keep these community projects viable. Please include the costs of the whole policy from the costs of legal awards, valuer's costs, costs of drawing up Community Group business plans and all money's awarded from funds including the Scottish Land Fund.

Response

1. Attached is a copy of the information you requested, in the form of tables setting out grants awards approved by the Scottish Land Fund committee in response to applications from community groups since 2012 (when the Scottish Government began providing funding for the Fund).

2. The Scottish Land Fund supports communities to become more resilient and sustainable through the ownership and management of land and buildings. It is the main source of funding made available by the Scottish Government for this purpose. Communities can access SLF funding to:

  • Access grants of up to £100,000 to help them develop their ideas for the land and buildings before and after acquisition

  • Access grants of up to £1 million to help them take ownership of land and buildings to meet local need and deliver benefits for the whole community.

Please note that only communities controlled and defined by a geographic area are eligible for the Scottish Land Fund.

3. Between 2012-2016 SLF grants were awarded via a single stage process. Since 2016, grants have been awarded for acquisition via a two-stage process. Grants made at Stage 1 grants allow communities to consult locally and investigate the feasibility of acquiring the land/land asset they have identified, while Stage 2 awards are made for actual acquisition, together with any agreed award for the cost associated with post-acquisition development. There is no 'registration process'.

4. Tables in the attachment list all groups whose applications have had funding approved from the Scottish Land Fund Committee since 2012. In a number of cases Stage 2 funding has been approved but acquisition has yet to take place – these will have a blank in the final column, 'date of acquisition'. The costs of legal awards, valuer's costs, costs of drawing up Community Group business plans etc. are included in the amounts listed. Actual spend in each financial year depends on the date the asset is acquired (as opposed to when funding is approved). In the case of Stage 1 funding, actual spend in each year depends on when work is completed and funding drawn down.

5. In relation to the following element of your request:

"Also please detail separately how much money Scottish Government has had to commit annually to manage and keep these community projects viable." -

Community organisations awarded funding from the SLF usually go on to develop a large number of projects and activities in connection with the assets they have acquired, in line with their respective business plans. To do so they access funds from a very wide range of organisations, including for example, the BIG Lottery's Community Assets programme, government agencies, local authorities, as well as a range of private sector organisations including charities, banks, local trust funds etc. Many also use their asset to generate income to reinvest in the asset itself or associated projects and/or employ staff (for example, groups who have purchased land from the Forestry Commission might use income from timber sales to employ staff to manage and develop woodland areas).

Community landowners are eligible to apply to a number of Scottish Government funding programmes but they must meet the criteria and objectives of the particular programme concerned. For example, the Rural Housing Fund (which provides support to develop affordable housing) is open to a range of types of landowners, including privately owned estates and registered social landlords, as well as community organisations, and applications are considered on their individual merits. Awards made from these funding programmes must meet the stated policy objectives of the programme concerned.

6. The Scottish Land Fund is delivered for the Scottish Government by the BIG Lottery in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise. As part of the process of appraising applications, checking eligibility, and awarding funds, the BIG Lottery collects a range of information. This includes information on the status and membership requirements of organisations, the steps they have taken to consult local people and the level of support they can demonstrate. In addition the BIG Lottery has in place processes to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of grants awarded. This includes collecting information about sources of post-acquisition funding. If you would like more information about the process of appraising applications to the SLF and post-acquisition monitoring, you can write to the BIG Lottery:

Lyndsay Scott Corporate Officer Information Requests BIG Lottery 2 St James Gate Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4BE

mailto:Lyndsay.Scott@biglotteryorg.uk

7. In relation to your request for: "the numbers of people in the communities that the money benefited" – please see table below:

Year Total awarded Population
Stage 2 Awards - 2016-17 3,778,055 97,283
Stage 2 Awards - 2017-18 10,210,236 233,918
Stage 2 Awards - 2018-19 (to May) 910,265 15,648
Stage 1 Awards - 2016-17 651,148 *
Stage 1 Awards - 2017-18 720,331 *
Stage 1 Awards - 2018-19 (to June) 113,857 *
Awards from 2012-2016 9,946,818 73,945
Total 26,330,710 420,794
  • The Scottish Government does not hold this information.

Please note that the tables give the numbers of people resident within the 'catchment area' of the community landowner concerned, i.e., the number of people in their area of operation that they reasonably expect might be able to benefit from the land/land asset and/or services developed in connection with it. You may also find the following report (published in 2016) helpful:

Evaluation of the Scottish Land Fund 2012-16:
https://beta.gov.scot/publications/evaluation-scottish-land-fund-2012-16/

This report looked in detail at the impact SLF funding had on the communities whose projects were supported.

8. A number of community groups who acquire assets do so by registering interest in land via Community Right to Buy legislation. You can find details of their applications here:

https://www.ros.gov.uk/services/registration/register-of-community-interests-in-land/community-bodies-right-to-buy

About FOI

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG