Scottish Land & Estates has released a briefing on its position prior to the Agricultural Holdings Stage 1 debate in Parliament next week.
Scottish Land & Estates supports the Bill as drafted, as it would see the outstanding measures in the package agreed by the TFF enacted. But Scottish Land & Estates opposes any attempt to widen the definition of “near relative” to nephews and nieces and any attempt to introduce measures seeking to change provisions relating to rent reviews following the Moonzie decision.
Scottish Land & Estates has previously welcomed the transitional provisions in the Bill, which would see the new succession provisions only applying after the Bill comes into force, on the basis that it avoided a retrospective element to the legislation. But Scottish Land & Estates acknowledges that the intention was that this provision would have been included in the Public Services Reform (Agricultural Holdings) (Scotland) Order 2011 and that certain families may have been disadvantaged by the delay in legislating. As such, Scottish Land & Estates is willing to alter its position and accept that the succession provisions could apply in those cases where the tenant has died before the Bill comes into effect and notice has not yet been served to transfer the lease. Scottish Land & Estates hopes that this change in position is seen as a constructive move that signals landowners’ willingness to engage in the process of making the legislation work.
Scottish Land & Estates is fully supportive of the Tenant Farming Forum (TFF) and believes that the best place to address the issues in the sector is in that forum. It is in everyone’s interest that we maintain a flexible and vibrant tenanted sector in Scotland and the solution is for tenants and landowners to work together within the Tenant Farming Forum.