Following the announcement of details of the Scottish Government’s Review of Agricultural Holdings Legislation, Scottish Land & Estates, which represents landowners across Scotland, issued the following statement.
Luke Borwick, chairman, said: “Scottish Land & Estates looks forward to participating constructively in the forthcoming review. We wholeheartedly support the Cabinet Secretary’s statement that Scotland needs a vibrant and healthy tenant farming sector at the heart of Scottish agriculture and Scottish life and that the aim of the review is to ensure a sustainable Scottish tenant farming sector that is dynamic.
“We will present a range of progressive suggestions and initiatives that we believe can deliver tangible benefits to the tenant farming sector and agriculture as a whole.
“We sincerely hope the Review panel will take on board the fact that the overwhelming majority of our members – who range from small scale landowners to larger estates - are farmers themselves whose paramount interest is to see agriculture and the tenanted sector thrive. Our members are committed to being constructive industry partners in that regard.
“The range of topics to be covered by the Review are important issues and we would appeal to the Review Group and the Cabinet Secretary to deal with the matter of Absolute Right to Buy as quickly as possible. The continuing prospect of this measure being introduced, despite widespread industry opposition, continues to cause severe uncertainty across the let sector which will continue until the process is complete.
“A vibrant sector needs to be attractive to both the tenant farmer and landlords – existing and potential. Finding that balance should be at the heart of the review.
“The best outcome of this Review process, in our view, would be measures that have cross industry support, as this will enable the sector to move forward on a collaborative and consensual basis. In reality, there is much more that unites the sector than divides it and it is not in the best interests of the sector to have a polarised debate. All involved want the sector to succeed, particularly in relation to providing opportunities for new entrants.”