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Who Owns England
It is said that an Englishman’s home is his castle. Today politicians tell us that we live in a modern ‘property owning democracy’. But the amount of England accounted for by our individual houses and patches of garden is just 5%. Amazingly the area of our country owned by the traditional landed gentry and aristocracy is still 30%. Some of the largest estates have been in the hands of the same family for hundreds of years and many of them do indeed include castles or stately homes. Some aristocratic families owe their land holding to the patronage of William the Conqueror a thousand years ago.
This book is an eye opener, looking at the changing patterns of land ownership across the centuries and how England’s elite came to own their land; from the Crown and the church to big business and foreign oligarchs. Ultimate ownership is often difficult to uncover, obscured by complex shell companies and hidden behind offshore trusts.
The book is also a call for radical reform – the impact of the current concentration of land has enormous implications for some of our country’s most important challenges in agriculture, the environment and housing. And a good place to start would be clarity and transparency over who really does own England’s green and pleasant land.
William Collins, paperback £9.99