Scots parliament approves tenant farming reforms
11 June 2012
A package of reforms to modernise the tenant farming sector in Scotland have been approved by the Scottish Parliament.
The Agricultural Holdings (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill builds on previous reforms and aims to increase availability of agricultural land for let and encourage new and young farmer entrants into farming.
The Bill, passed last Thursday, makes changes to rent review arrangements to ban ‘upward only’ and ‘landlord only’ initiated rent reviews, as well as making it easier for grandchildren to inherit farm tenancies.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said the Government was committed to ensuring Scotland had a ‘healthy and vibrant’ tenant farming sector.
That was why, he said, the Government was working to remove barriers to the letting of farm land, increase confidence in the working relationships between landlord and tenants and give the tenant farming sector a greater level of security.
Mr Lochhead said the Tenant Farming Forum had worked with the Government to develop solutions to the issues affecting the industry and had launched its Rent Review Working Group.
He said the legislation passed on Thursday was a key part of the Government’s determination to tackle the issues surrounding the tenant farming sector.
Douglas McAdam, chief executive of the Scottish Land and Estates, said the work of the forum has been instrumental in the successful Parliamentary passage of the Bill:
“The package of measures put forward to Government by the TFF showed what can be achieved by the industry working through its challenges together. Of course there will be disagreements, but it is surely better for the industry to tackle these constructively together.”
He also welcomed the creation of therent review working group, adding its first priority would be to decide whether the current framework for rent reviews was broken and required attention or whether it functioned well.
Tenant Farming Forum
The rent review working group has been set up in a bid to untangle the complicated rent review procedures in Scotland.
The chairman will be former banker Henry Graham and the three other members, who have been appointed on a personal basis and not on any organisational affiliation, are former NFU Scotland president John Ross, Perthshire farmer Ian Duncan Millar and John Mitchell, a partner in law firm Anderson Strathern.
The group is due to report back to the TFF in November, which will consider recommendations and propose actions, including any recommended procedural or legislative changes, which may be required.
The report will also be considered by the Scottish Government.