After giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee, Richard Blake, Legal Advisor to Scottish Land & Estates commented:
“Scottish Land & Estates is generally comfortable with the Agricultural Holdings Bill as it stands. We strongly believe however that the legislation should not apply retrospectively as this may create a risk of tenants and landowners entering agreements which may be subject to future retrospective legislation and as such introduce uncertainty into contractual dealings.
“We are fully committed to the purposes of the Tenant Farming Forum and remain convinced that the Forum is the appropriate place to discuss areas of concern and interest to the tenanted sector with a view to reaching a consensus for the benefit of a healthy tenanted sector. A ‘new entrant rep’ will be invited to speak to TFF about the difficulties they face in the near future and I think this will be a valuable source of guidance for the forum.
“As I also said during the evidence session, the recent announcement of a 10% drop in agricultural lettings over the past 5 years can be partly accounted for by let farms being bought by occupiers and not re-let. Statistics also fail to show that the early SLDTs will in many cases have been replaced by another SLDT or LDT and therefore the number of 2003 tenancies created will be greater than shown.”