Review Of Agricultural Holdings Legislation Interim Report

In November 2013, we reported on the establishment of the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group to determine how legislation and Government policy might be changed to secure the continuation and development of the dynamic and vibrant tenant farming sector in Scotland for which the Government strives.

We followed that up in March when we reported on the Group's first three meetings where it agreed its work programme to establish what it sees as the essential elements and high-level principles of a successful tenanted sector, to assess how that differs from the status quo and to develop proposals for bridging the gaps through revision of legislation and policy. In that Update we examined the first two elements of that formula and noted that the Group was to issue its interim report by the end of June.

The Interim Report

Bang on schedule, while others were exhibiting their produce, purchasing new machinery or staying at home to make hay or silage while the sun shone, the Cabinet Secretary used the Royal Highland Show to unveil the Group's Interim Report - commencing part 3 of the Group's work programme set out above. Divided into nine chapters, the Report sets out in some detail the remit and scope of the review, the Group's vision for a sustainable tenanted sector, its methods of working and approach, what it has learned from its research (into the nature and types of tenure arrangements and how they have changed between 2000 and 2013, the performance of farms held in different types of tenure, cases brought before the Land Court between 2009 and 2013 and what can be learnt from other countries). Also, what the Group gleaned from the evidence of stakeholders (written, oral, under examination and at open meetings), strategic and crosscutting issues and what is wrong with the present system (a detailed analysis of aspects of legislation, fiscal measures and landlord/tenant behaviours which appear to the Group to be obstacles to achieving the Government's aspirations).

The Meat

Apart from the Right to Buy (see below), the meat of the Report is to be found in Section 9 in which the Group lays out those broad areas on which it intends to focus its attention over the summer:

The establishment of a stable and effective framework for secure 1991 Act tenancies. The creation of a new and flexible framework to stimulate diverse other arrangements. To ensure a supportive wider, crosscutting context. 1991 Act Tenancies

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