Great progress has already been made to tackle tenant farming issues in Scotland – but more needs to be done. That was the message from Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead as he addressed a summit meeting with the Tenant Farming Forum in Inverness today.
Mr Lochhead said that five of the seven proposals made by the TFF had been tackled through legislation while the current Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Bill will address the two outstanding actions. However, the Rural Affairs Secretary also highlighted a number of issues which he wants the TFF to address, as part of ongoing partnership working to improve the tenanted sector. These include rent reviews, dispute resolution, succession issues, waygo arrangement and issues around fixed equipment.
Mr Lochhead said:
“We’re committed to ensuring that Scotland has a vibrant tenant farming future. That’s why we’re working to support tenant farmers, in conjunction with the Tenant Farming Forum. Improvements have already been made as part of this partnership working and today’s constructive summit meeting has enabled us to set clear goals to drive further progress for this new phase of work and way of working for TFF."
“I have also made clear that I expect the forum to come up with solutions which will make a real difference but also have a realistic timescale – it’s vital that we address issues quickly to deliver the change that is required. I recognise that this is a big test for TFF but we must focus on delivering solutions. It is important that we receive any TFF proposals for legislative change before we review the agricultural holdings legislation."
“As part of the work of the TFF, the government will be undertaking a survey in the coming months of all tenant farmers and their landlords to assist in resolving some of the data gaps. I look forward to receiving the results of the survey and the TFF’s proposals in due course.”