EXCLUSIVE: Duke of Buccleuch’s £10 'park levy' may be illegal

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Fri Mar 18 01:31:03 GMT 2016

LVT brigade really gunning for Buccleuch ;-)

Duke of Buccleuch’s park levy may be illegal

Scottish Legal News can reveal that the the Duke 
of Buccleuch’s proposed annual £10 charge, to be 
levied on walkers and joggers accessing his 
Dalkeith CountryPark at certain times from March 21, may be illegal.
Midlothian Council said the move was believed to 
be lawful under the Land Reform Act (Scotland) 
2003, which provides that a landowner can charge 
if they did so for 90 days per year before the act came into force.
However, it may be that the estate only has 
authority to charge for access over the 
Midlothian section of the estate, where there was 
a subsisting charge, and not the East Lothian section.
Dr Jill Robbie, lecturer in private law at the 
University of Glasgow, told Scottish Legal News 
that if gates at one side of the park had always 
been open to the public without charge then the 
subsection would not be satisfied – meaning the 
estate could not lawfully charge people to enter the park from any entrance.
“Under s.6(1)(f) of the Land Reform (Scotland) 
Act 2003, land excluded from access rights 
includes land to which members of the public were 
admitted only on payment for not fewer than 90 
days in the year ending on 31st January 2001 and, 
after that date, to which members of the public 
were admitted only on payment for not fewer than 
90 days in each subsequent year beginning 1st February 2001,” she said.
“If, historically, the gates to one side of the 
Dalkeith Country Park were left open and members 
of the public were allowed to enter without 
incurring a charge, this would suggest that the 
requirements of s.6(1)(f) have not been met.
“In these circumstances, the park would not be 
land excluded from access rights for the purposes 
of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 under this particular section.”
Adding to the uncertainty of imposing a charge, a 
source who was present at meetings involving East 
Lothian Council outdoor access officers and the 
estate manager told Scottish Legal News that the 
estate manager admitted a charge in the East 
Lothian section may not be enforceable and that, 
if pushed, he would construct a barrier between 
the East Lothian and Midlothian sections of the estate.
However, a spokesman for Buccleuch set out the 
reasons for the charge and the justification for 
levying it by citing exactly the same provision as Dr Robbie.
He said: “There is a long and continuing history 
of significant vandalism and illegal behaviour 
within Dalkeith Country Park, and under the terms 
of the 2003 Land Reform Act the only way we are 
able to close the gates and ask irresponsible 
visitors to leave is through continuing to levy a 
nominal access charge – something the park has 
done for many years. This will not restrict 
access to responsible visitors and the charges in 
place are exactly the same as in previous years.
“Anyone with an annual pass card will continue to 
be able to enter the park day or night, year 
round. An annual adult card, for example, costs 
£10, or less than 3 pence per day. More than 200 
cards have been sold already, demonstrating widespread local support.
“It is not the case that the imposition of a 
charge would be unlawful. The Dalkeith Country 
Park is a single entity, which lies across 
Midlothian and East Lothian. It has a number of access points.”
Citing s.6(1)(f) LR(S)A 2003 he added: “The 
subsection applies to Dalkeith Country Park. 
Accordingly, it follows that the owners of the 
land are entitled to impose a charge for access.”

Revealed: The Duke of Buccleuch and the offshore haven

MARCH 15TH, 2016 - 12:37 
AM  <http://www.thenational.scot/author/michael_gray>MICHAEL GRAY
THE Buccleuch family, owners of more than 240,000 
acres of private land, use a shadowy Cayman 
Islands firm to control and sell land, it has emerged.
The aristocratic estate run by Richard Scott, the 
10th Duke of Buccleuch, confirmed that an 
offshore ownership group, Pentland Limited, acts 
as an offshore contact to the family’s vast land business empire.
The use of the Cayman Islands tax haven, revealed 
following research by land reform campaigner Andy
Wightman, has reignited calls for greater action 
on the use of complex legal mechanisms to obscure 
the ownership of Scotland’s land.
Scott, inheritor of the Buccleuch dynasty of 
1663, is a director of Pentland, which has a 
variety of shared financial transactions with 
firms within the Buccleuch group, where Scott is also a director.
Buccleuch lawyers Anderson Strathern confirmed to 
the Registers of Scotland that one such 
transaction was the ownership then sale of half a 
stake in Smeaton Farm (part of Dalkeith Country 
Park) from Pentland to Buccleuch Estate.
Pentland also owns land near Canonbie, in 
Dumfries and Galloway, and signed loans worth 
millions of pounds in total to various Buccleuch subsidiary companies.
Wightman, who compiled the research, said: 
“Transparency is one of the key issues for a 
world of global capital in which the wealthiest 
one per cent are not only getting wealthier but 
are able to conceal their affairs through the use of secrecy jurisdictions.
“Since working on the Sunday Times Rich List 20 
years ago and since the advent of the Scottish 
Parliament in 1999, the UK and Scottish 
Governments are only now beginning to appreciate 
the potential scale and impact of secrecy in how land and property is owned.
“What I and others have been campaigning for over 
the past 20 years is quite simple – full, 
transparent and accessible information on who 
really owns Scotland. What we have uncovered 
today is probably just the tip of the iceberg and 
it will be a key challenge for the next Scottish 
Parliament to ensure complete transparency on 
these matters and ensure that there are no longer 
any secrets about who owns Scotland.”
A spokesman for the Duke’s estate confirmed 
Pentland Limited was a Buccleuch venture with 
interests in Scottish land. “Pentland Limited is 
a Cayman Islands incorporated vehicle which is 
wholly owned by The Buccleuch Estates Limited 
which is UK registered," he said. "The company 
has always been wholly owned by Buccleuch and 
members of the Buccleuch family, all of whom are 
UK resident taxpayers. All profits arising in 
Pentland Limited are subject to UK corporation tax.
"Pentland Limited has historically owned land in 
the UK and currently owns an area of land near 
Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway.”
The Duke, whose five estates cover an acreage 
larger than any other landowner in the UK, has 
been a consistent opponent of land reform and has 
been implicated in numerous community disputes in recent years.
Last week the inherited estate announced plans to 
block access to Dalkeith Country Park at night 
unless walkers and cyclists paid for access. 
Buccleuch also faced a community backlash in 
Canonbie over plans for coal bed methane extraction.
Buccleuch, one of the old aristocratic families 
that grew to dominate rural Scotland through 
historic land grabs, said he was “deeply 
dismayed” that the land reform debate had been 
“re-opened” in the past few years.
Rob Gibson MSP, convener of the Rural Affairs, 
Climate Change and Environment (RACCE) committee 
that led scrutiny of the Land Reform Bill, said 
the new evidence demonstrated the need to use the 
Land Reform Bill to ensure future ownership transparency.
“This adds to the fact that what the government 
is proposing is going to expose this kind of 
thing," he said. "What for? You need to know who 
owns land to hold them to account and to tax 
them. That’s why completing the land register is vital."
Yesterday the RACCE committee published its 
legacy report for 2011-16, which signalled land 
reform efforts would continue through establishing a Land Commission.
Gibson added that “the next committee will have a 
big job to do” to ensure that land ownership is 
transparent and any ongoing tax avoidance is identified.
The scale of offshore ownership of land is 
estimated to equal 750,000 acres. As the national 
land register is incomplete, Scottish Government 
officials have been unable to confirm the scale of the tax haven problem.
In January chief police investigators warned 
complex offshore ownership structures also 
created a bureaucratic nightmare for enforcing 
the law, specifically in relation to prosecuting 
the wildlife crime that took place on the 
Kildrummy estate. The police found it impossible 
to identify a legal owner of the land – held 
offshore in Jersey – despite three years of 
effort and “significant international investigations”.
Nine months of negotiation between MSPs, 
campaigners and the government aimed to 
strengthen the Bill to ensure the greatest 
transparency for Scottish land registered in 
places like Cayman, the British Virgin Isles and 
Jersey. On Wednesday the Scottish Parliament will 
hear amendments to the bill from Patrick Harvie 
MSP, including proposals to tighten regulation on 
land owned in British overseas territories.
Nicky MacCrimmon, who led land reform campaigners 
to victory at the 2015 SNP conference, called for 
the government to end tax haven ownership by rich 
landowners. He said: “It is not just a question 
of tax revenue or potential money laundering. It 
goes to the heart of democracy by saying we 
demand transparency and accountability from the 
people who own and exploit our natural resources.
“The [land reform] movement seems to be getting 
stronger all the time both within political 
parties and outwith them. It is becoming 
mainstream to believe in land reform; ordinary 
people are having conversations in pubs and 
online forums about land value tax. The next big 
leap for me to take the debate forward will be to 
really begin to highlight the problems caused by 
our land use and ownership in urban settings.”
The greatest opposition to land reform has come 
from the lobbyists for big landowners and their 
legal representatives. Legal firm Brodies warned 
the Scottish Government that land reform action 
could lead to a court challenge and high compensation claims from landowners.
Socialist coalition Rise has called for 
Scotland’s aristocracy to be confronted through “a campaign of protest”.
The ownership of land in Scotland has also caught 
the attention of tax justice campaigners, who 
oppose the web of “secrecy jurisdictions” where 
an estimated $7.6 billion of global wealth is stored offshore.
Alex Cobham, director of research with the Tax 
Justice Network, said: “There’s no good reason 
not to know who you’re doing business with, so 
any time you come across such complex and opaque 
ownership arrangements, you have to ask what the 
reason is. The irony here is that it relates to 
the ownership of the most tangible assets 
imaginable: the land itself of this country.
“The UK Government has played an important role 
in the fight against anonymous company ownership, 
but there’s a very long way to go – and it starts 
with addressing the biggest global financial 
secrecy network, which is of course made up of 
the UK’s own Overseas Territories and Crown 
Dependencies. When David Cameron hosts his 
international anti-corruption summit in May, the 
item at the top of the agenda must be to require 
every one of these jurisdictions to commit to 
public registries of the beneficial ownership of 
companies, trusts and foundations.
“The Scottish Government, meanwhile, can take its 
own steps to ensure that no land is owned without 
public record of the ultimate beneficial 
ownership – regardless of which jurisdiction or structure is used.”
The Cayman Islands, where Buccleuch’s Pentland 
Limited firm is based, were condemned by 
President Barack Obama for undermining global tax rules.
Cayman, a British Overseas Territory, has no 
direct taxation and is used by many of the 
world’s largest corporations to avoid tax. One 
Cayman building, Ugland house, is the registered 
address of nearly 20,000 global firms.
When asked who could shut down the tax avoidance 
industry on the island, Cayman premier Alden 
McLaughlin said: “Ultimately the UK can, because 
they have the overriding responsibility.”
Further controversy over business activity in tax 
havens coincides with the release of a new report 
from charity Oxfam titled Ending the Era of Tax Havens.
Mark Goldring, Oxfam chief executive, said: “It’s 
time the government ended the secrecy that allows 
tax dodgers to get away without paying their fair 
share, robbing the UK – and poor countries – of 
vital revenue that could help fund public 
services and provide a strong safety net for the most vulnerable.”

This report is in collaboration with Common 
Space: visit <http://commonspace.scot/>CommonSpace.scot
Wightman: On the trail of Pentland Ltd
National View: Transparency about ownership is vital to our land reform

Hitler's aristocratic admirers

LORD DARLINGTON was adamant. The two young German 
maids would have to go. Miss Kenton, the 
housekeeper, was close to tears as she explained 
that they would have to return to ­Germany – a 
terrible risk considering both were Jewish.

CALLAN PUBLISHED: 00:00, Sat, Sep 12, 2009


FAWNING: The Duke and Duchess of Windsor meet Hitler

But his lordship remained unmoved. He believed in 
appeasement towards Nazi Germany and the 
employment of Jewish people was “inappropriate”.
Although fictional, there is a bitter ring of 
truth about this scene – featuring James Fox and 
Emma Thompson – from the 1993 film The Remains Of 
The Day, based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel.
The Lord Darlington figure was typical of a 
formidable group of British peers who were 
attracted by Hitler and supported efforts to keep 
the dictator placated. A new book, Aristocrats by 
Lawrence James, includes material on such 
ardently Right-wing and anti-Semitic aristocrats 
and how their vile attitudes brought considerable satisfaction to Hitler.
What lay behind their support of appeasement was 
a fear of Communism . “What emerges,” writes 
James, “is a picture of a knot of peers adrift in 
an uncongenial world, united by paranoia, pessimism and panic.”
‘A knot of peers were united by utter paranoia’ 
‘One duke went to the Führer’s birthday party’ 
‘Lord Brocket fawned over visiting Nazis’
They all saw an immensely powerful union between 
Communism and the Jewish people as a world 
conspiracy that could be thwarted only by Fascism.
Both Hitler and his strutting Italian cohort 
Mussolini offered these bewildered aristocrats a 
safe world that would be secure from any 
Communist takeover. It also confirmed their long-held private prejudice.
Explains James: “[Visceral] anti-Semitism 
permeated the upper classes between the wars. 
Jews were vilified as flashy and pushy arrivistes 
with a knack of enriching themselves when the 
aristocracy was grumbling about an often 
exaggerated downturn in their fortunes.”
What made such hatred additionally odious was the 
fact these peers continued to air their views 
long after Hitler’s persecution of Germany’s 
Jewish population had become widely known.
Prominent among such peers was Lord Brocket who 
joined various anti-Semitic organisations. He 
fawned over visiting Nazi officials whom he 
invited to his home and even attended the 
celebrations for Hitler’s 50th birthday.
Brocket, said to be “a fundamentally nice but 
stupid man” even deluded himself that he was a 
valuable link between Hitler and Britain’s 
leaders. It was suggested that he lit fires on 
his Hertfordshire estates to guide German bombers on their way to London.
Another pro-Nazi peer was Lord Redesdale . His 
daughters, who became famous as the literary 
Mitford sisters, included Unity who went to 
Germany and stalked Hitler, having fallen in love 
with him. Although she did become close to Hitler 
– he considered her to be a “perfect example of 
Aryan womanhood” – he told her to return to 
England as war approached. She shot herself in 
the head in Munich’s English Garden but survived and was dispatched home.
Another admirer of Hitler was the Duke of 
Westminster, a man who believed countless 
conspiracies among British Jews to subvert the 
country. He even spent the first year of the war 
demanding, to whoever would listen, that peace be made with Germany.
One of the most colourful ermine-clad extremists 
was the 22nd Earl of Erroll, the Casanova of 
Kenya’s debauched Happy Valley set. After being 
mesmerised by Hitler, this devastatingly handsome 
man promised to introduce Fascism to East Africa. 
This included a self-supporting empire that would 
not “trade with the dirty foreigner”.
But his plans were short-lived. The Earl was 
found murdered in his car on January 24, 1941, on 
a country road outside Nairobi. It has been 
suggested that his death was carried out by the 
British secret services when his political activities became dangerous.
Among the most famous names associated with 
anti-Semitism was the fifth Duke of Wellington . 
He became a member of the secret Right Club, 
which attempted to unify all pre-war Right-wing groups in Britain.
The founder, Archibald Ramsay, said of the 
organisation: “The main objective was to oppose 
and expose the activities of organised Jewry. Our 
first objective was to clear the Conservative 
Party of Jewish influence, and the character of 
our membership and meetings were strictly in keeping with this objective.”
Yet another extremist was the Marquess of Graham 
. He succeeded to the title of Duke of Montrose 
and went to live in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where 
he became a staunch white supremacist. He served 
in Ian Smith’s breakaway Rhodesia Front 
government and in one speech said: “The Beatles, 
international finance groups, colonial freedom 
movements and students agitators were all agents 
of a communist plot to achieve world domination.”
One Hitler-admiring peer, the Duke of Buccleuch, 
was even close to King George VI as the Lord 
­Steward of the Royal Household. He also 
accompanied Lord Brocket to celebrate the 
Führer’s 50th birthday. It was a matter of 
personal delight to Hitler that the duke, a man 
who served in the very court of Britain’s Royal Family, was there .
Buccleuch was opposed to any war with the Nazis 
and when it did break out in 1939, he joined the 
Peace Aims Group and urged a truce based on 
Germany keeping all the lands Hitler had stolen 
in Europe. Even after the bombing started, he 
continued to defend Hitler. A continuing 
embarrassment to the King, he was sacked in 1940.
One of the most alarming figures among this cabal 
was Lord Londonderry – Winston Churchill’s cousin 
and a member of one of the country’s wealthiest 
aristocratic families. The king called him 
“Charlie” and other members of the Royal Family 
were frequent guests at his London home, as were major political figures.
He regularly visited Germany, met Hitler several 
times and even stayed with Goering at his hunting 
lodge. But he was not taken seriously and 
Churchill referred to him as a “half-wit”. He was 
known in the press as “the Londonderry Herr” for his pro-German leanings.
One of the best-known figures was Sir Oswald 
Mosley, founder of the Blackshirts and a man who 
yearned to be Britain’s own “Führer”. A highly 
charismatic man , he was deeply impressed by 
Mussolini and founded the British Union of Fascists.
I once interviewed him at his ­Versailles home 
and over lunch, at which Lady Mosley (one of the 
Mitford sisters) was present, we discussed the Holocaust.
I mentioned, just in the course of conversation, 
that I was Jewish – at which Lady Mosley went 
ashen, snapped a crimson nail and left the room. 
No explanation was given but she would later write to a friend:
“A nice, polite reporter came to interview Tom 
[as Mosley was known] but he turned out to be 
Jewish and was sitting there at our table. They 
are a very clever race and come in all shapes and sizes.”
But towering over all these figures were the Duke 
and Duchess of Windsor. He had abdicated as King 
Edward VIII in 1936 in order to marry American 
divorcée, Wallis Simpson. They were later given the ducal titles .
Their admiration for Hitler concerned the 
government, particularly after they were 
entertained by him on a visit in 1937. Even the 
Americans were alarmed – the FBI sent a memo to 
President Roosevelt ­stating that the duchess was 
“exceedingly pro-German in her sympathies and 
connections”. The Duke was given the wartime job 
of governor of the Bahamas and ­Roosevelt ordered 
the FBI to follow them when they visited the US.
It was believed that Goering had concluded a deal 
with the Duke to install him on the throne after 
Germany had won the war. His court would, no 
doubt, have comprised many of those pernicious 
peers who had lauded Hitler so lavishly.
l To order Aristocrats: Power, Grace And 
Decadence by Lawrence James (Little, Brown, £25) 
with free UK delivery, send a cheque or PO made 
payable to Express Bookshop to Aristocrats Book 
Offer, PO Box 200, Falmouth TR11 4WJ or phone 
0871 988 8367 (calls (10p/min from UK landlines) 
or visit www.expressbookshop.com
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