Scottish Land & Estates has welcomed the speed with which the Scottish Government’s Rural Affairs committee has produced its stage 1 report on the Agricultural Holdings Bill. The landowner organisation, which represents over 2,500 members, hopes that the Bill in its present form will complete its parliamentary procedure swiftly in order to secure confidence amongst those in the rural sector. This would complete the implementation of the Tenant Farming Forum–agreed proposals for legislative amendment.
Richard Blake, Legal Adviser to Scottish Land & Estates, commented today:
“The Bill, as considered by the committee, broadly reflects the consensus within TFF and we believe that consensus should not be overridden. As such, Scottish Land & Estates does not support the suggestion that the definition of ‘near relative’ be extended beyond that agreed by the TFF, namely the extension to include grandchildren of deceased tenant of a secure 1991 Act tenancy.
“The whole area of succession and assignation is currently under discussion within the TFF, which is the appropriate forum, and which Scottish Land & Estates continues fully to support.
“In regard to this, and as a matter of principle generally, Scottish Land & Estates is not in favour of retrospective legislation.”
Referring to other matters addressed in today’s report Richard added:
“We also welcome recognition of the need for better data on the tenanted sector to allow an evidence-based approach to be taken. This is something Scottish Land & Estates has been championing for some time. Likewise the committee’s recommendation that the TFF is tasked with progressing a number of areas, including alternative dispute resolution, is very encouraging and we are fully committed to playing our part in this”.