SCOTTISH Land & Estates, which represents landowners across Scotland, has urged the Land Reform Review Group (LRRG), set up by the Scottish Government, to “seize the moment’ and support the agricultural industry in delivering “realistic and progressive” measures to safeguard the future of tenant farming.
Luke Borwick, Chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said:
“We have made a comprehensive submission to the LRRG on land reform and in terms of agriculture we have put forward sensible, realistic and progressive proposals with the sole objective being to support Scotland’s important tenant farming sector.
“There needs to be a formidable collective effort to ensure the next generation of farmers will be there and in business to make a vital contribution to food supply and security.
“What is required is dynamic and progressive thinking rather than an industry being mired in the narrow debates that have afflicted it for too long. This is an important period for tenant farming with many ageing farmers and tenancies coming towards the end of agreements. It is time for a step change and the Land Reform Review process can help make that happen.”
In its submission to the group, Scottish Land & Estates recommends:-
- The Tenant Farming Forum and the New Entrants Advisory Panel, created by the Scottish Government, are the best vehicles to develop proposals that carry cross-industry support and can make an enduring difference to Scottish farming.
- Greater freedom of contract has the potential to deliver much-need flexibility in the sector to help pave the way for new entrants and a wider diversity of uses of land.
Mr Borwick said: “We are wholly supportive of the Land Reform Review Group’s desire to create new pathways for young people into agriculture and have urged the group to recognise and embrace the work of the New Entrants Advisory Panel. All eyes need to be firmly focused on the future.”
“We have strongly urged the Land Reform Group to draw a line under the issue of absolute right to buy by dismissing it from any agenda. If they do so, we believe they will reflect the predominant will of the industry-igniting confidence in the sector. ARTB offers no future for the tenanted sector.”
“Successive Governments have ruled out such a measure, and the National Farmers’ Union of Scotland (NFU Scotland) has, very sensibly, had a long-held policy against it, which we are pleased to see them state once again in their submission to the LRRG.
“Landlords have warned repeatedly about the dangers of this and even the Scottish Tenant Farming Association’s survey of members revealed a majority against the measure. It is time to move on from this confidence-crushing rhetoric which serves only to destroy tenant farming. We have to think progressively and constructively about the future.”