Scottish Land & Estates said today it welcomed the call from NFUS for cross industry talks with the Agricultural Holdings Review Group.
David Johnstone, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “We welcome Nigel Miller’s suggestion to get together with other industry bodies and the Agricultural Holdings Review Group and this reflects our own recent calls for cross-industry discussions. Only last week, we said that discussions should be held on rent reviews and whether productive capacity should be taken into account.
“The latest Scottish Land Court decision has brought the issue again into sharp focus and we will enthusiastically participate in discussions that will deliver benefit to the industry.
“We should all go into these discussions with an open mind and take heed of what is actually said in the judgement.
“The court made clear in its judgement that the rent it fixed for Roxburgh Mains farm is fair and took into account comprehensive comparisons with six other farms. The open market rent of one farm was cross-checked with the rents for five sitting tenants, four of them on Roxburghe Estates. When these rents were calculated by the estate in 2008/2009 they were based largely on productive capacity as there was no recent comparable evidence available.. They also did not include Singe Farm Payment as a factor.
“The court found that the most direct comparison, the farm next door to Roxburgh Mains, would have had a rent – adjusted for SFP – of £1.13 per acre more than the rent fixed for Roxburgh Mains.
“The decision does highlight the need for constructive and transparent discussions between landlord and tenant. This was a case that, by all accounts, should not have reached the court. Numerous attempts were made by the estate to settle the rent of the farm at a level that was in keeping with other farms on the estate but were rejected.”