Scotland: Privatization of public forest wins by one vote

Issue before the vote posted about here:

“We firmly believe that the wildlife living within our national
forests will be safer under the expert stewardship of the Forestry
Commission Scotland as opposed to a large commercial company which
will naturally put economic considerations first,” he said. The
message was picked up later in the debate by Labour, who pointed out
that the proposal, when put forward by the merchant bank Rothschilds,
had even been rejected by former Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher
as “a privatisation too far”.

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A motion by Labour calling for the consultation into the future of
Forestry Commission land to be abandoned was in effect defeated by one
vote when MSPs backed a government amendment by 62 to 61. The
controversial proposals would see large tracts of land from Scotland’s
largest landowner, the Forestry Commission Scotland, rented out on
75-year leases. The measures would appear in the Climate Change Bill
later this year after a consultation process.

Opposition MSPs have  accused SNP ministers of trying to sell off the family silver, but the  Scottish Government has argued it is the best way to pay for increased  forestation in Scotland. The SNP won the day, with the backing of the  Conservatives, because several Labour and Liberal Democrat MSPs were
missing. Ahead of the debate, wildlife groups hit out at the plans
which could see a quarter of Scotland’s forests leased to private

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