Thursday, 18 April 2019

Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population

Upper class land owners
While in the UK land has long been concentrated in the hands of a small number of owners, precise information about property ownership has been notoriously hard to access. Recent research in England reveals that corporations and aristocrats are the biggest landowners (Rob Evans 'Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population', Guardian Wed 17 Apr 2019)
The findings [...] suggest that about 25,000 landowners – typically members of the aristocracy and corporations – have control of half of the country. [...]  Guy Shrubsole, author of the book in which the figures are revealed, Who Owns England?, argues that the findings show a picture that has not changed for centuries. “Most people remain unaware of quite how much land is owned by so few,” he writes, adding: “A few thousand dukes, baronets and country squires own far more land than all of middle England put together.” “Land ownership in England is astonishingly unequal, heavily concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite.” [...] Shrubsole estimates that “the aristocracy and gentry still own around 30% of England”. [...]  18% of England is owned by corporations, some of them based overseas or in offshore jurisdictions. [...]  Conservation charities, such as the National Trust and the Woodland Trust, collectively own 2% of England, while the church accounts for 0.5%. 
So, in fact reaching 25k responsible landowners to persuade them in the interests of conservation and the public good to disallow Collection-Driven Exploitation of the archaeological record on their land is probably easier and more cost-effective than trying to reach all of the estimated 27k exploiters. By going for the landowners, half of the land in Britain could immediately be saved from pilfering of the past, whereas the rate among 'metal detectorists' is less than one in five.

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