LAND reforms being championed by the Scottish Government risk leaving the taxpayer with a £600m bill, MSPs have been warned.

Scottish Land and Estates said that the sum may have to be paid out as compensation to landowners, if land is broken up and reallocated against their will.

The group has called for current plans to be overhauled, saying proposals on succession rights and conversion of secure tenancies breach property rights and risk contravention of European legislation.

The government has said that its reforms will ensure land benefits "the many, not the few" and will allow ministers to step in "where the scale of land ownership or the conduct of a landlord is acting as a barrier to sustainable development".

However, the SNP administration has faced accusations that it is unfairly targeting large landowners.

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said: "This research shows that the Scottish taxpayer could be left stumping up a huge compensation sum to landowners as a result of the SNP's ill-judged land reform agenda.

"There's a lot we could buy with £600 million - putting it into the pockets of large estate owners makes no sense on any level. Once again we see a central-belt SNP government that simply doesn't understand rural Scotland. The SNP is trying to hide behind shooting estates in a bid to turn this into a class warfare."