Following the introduction of the Agricultural Holdings Bill yesterday (Tuesday 1 November) Scottish Land & Estates Chairman Luke Borwick, said:
“Scottish Land & Estates has underlined its support for the introduction of the remaining items of the agreed package of measures put to the Scottish Government by the Tenant Farming Forum (TFF).
“Having pressed for clarity on the effect of VAT rate changes on the rent review cycle since the Mason v Boscawen case, we are pleased to see that this Bill seeks to bring certainty to this issue. We are also pleased to note that the Scottish Government has acted in accordance with our suggestion, made both within the TFF and directly to the Scottish Government; that the provision relating to the extension of permitted successors to grandchildren should not be retrospective (as provided in the draft Bill) but should be effective on the coming into force of the particular provision. This brings much needed simplicity and clarity in an area of the law which has become increasingly complex”.
Mr Borwick added “We hope that the Bill, having been agreed by the cross industry representatives within the forum of the TFF, will now proceed smoothly and rapidly through the legislative process in order to bring more certainty to the sector.
“Mr Lochhead, in introducing the Bill to the Scottish Parliament, stressed the need to ensure that opportunities exist for young people to enter into farming and we wholeheartedly support this sentiment. There are clear examples of landowners doing what they can to make land available. In addition to the opportunities that some of our members have provided recently, we have also developed proposals for a starter unit initiative that we hope to take forward with other key agencies in the very near future.
“However new blood in agriculture is not only about new tenants and we need to retain existing employees plus attract new ones across the rural sector. We are working on a proposal for a scheme which we are sure will deliver much needed opportunities for young people across Scotland and meet the needs of rural businesses.
“It is worth stressing that productivity and innovation is not limited to the tenanted sector, it is evident across the whole of Scottish agricultural and associated rural businesses.”