Issued on behalf of the Tenant Farming Forum
Scotland’s Tenant Farming Forum (TFF), which aims to promote a healthy tenanted farm sector in Scotland, has given its welcome to the publication of the Scottish Government consultation on the Agricultural Holdings (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill.
The consultation invites comments on proposals to extend the definition of ‘near relative’ to include grandchildren and to prohibit lease terms that provide for ‘upward only’ or ‘landlord only initiated’ rent reviews. It also seeks to clarify that alterations to rents arising from tax changes would not constitute a ‘variation of rent’ that would prevent either landlord or tenant from seeking a determination of rent for a period of three years.
The proposals contained in the Draft Bill were part of an original package of recommendations from the TFF to Scottish Government on improving the amount of land available for let in Scotland. Many of the TFF’s recommendations were incorporated into the recent Public Services Reform (Scotland) 2011 act but measures related to succession and rents were deemed to require a separate Bill.
The chairman of the influential Forum, made up of organisations representing both landowners and tenants, is Professor Phil Thomas. Commenting on the consultation, he said:
“The TFF welcomes the proposals in this consultation. Taken in combination with the changes made by the Public Services Reform (Agricultural Holdings) (Scotland) Order 2011, we will see the original package of recommendations from the TFF to Scottish Government being considered.
“If adopted, all these changes could help to create a better environment for encouraging the letting of more land and will show that a united agreement by TFF members can deliver change.
“A great deal of hard work by Forum members is now resulting in actual and potential changes to the rules governing the letting of land which I hope will give confidence to all those considering the letting of land.”