19 Comments

  1. Hebridean Farmer

    In paragraph 208 the report concludes
    “but the concept of an absolute right to buy, through its potential
    impact on the supply of tenanted land and on the wider confidence of investors in
    rural Scotland, is one that the Review Group believes is not and would not be helpful in
    seeking to further the Scottish Government’s vision for tenant farming.”
    The Scottish Government is very quick to use Norway as a comparison when talking about Independence and Oil funds. I wonder therefore why they have not noted the evidence they have in Norway’s tenanted land . Norway has a greater ratio of tenanted land as compared to Scotland with Norway having an almost 100% farming owner occupiers. When the Review group claim further on that they fear the amount of tenanted land will drop if there are more owner occupiers , this flies in the face of evidence in Norway. I would be interested to hear their rationale behind their recommendations.

  2. The most appalling point is the govts belief that having more tenanted farms is a good thing.
    Feudalism marches on .

  3. 208,, And No help with Cap, what is the point of all this Not many want to be a tenant, when we know doing well leads to the land lord taking everything, and that is not a spelling mistake !

  4. You can hear the landlords purring .

  5. One step forward two back.i hope the recommendations make it to law. Only the Napier commission report was taken further and improved by the government in 1886

  6. The assignation of a 91 act tenancy for value to an LDT is already possible , so where is the gain?
    All tenant farmers should have the right to repurchase their house and steadings and 50 acres.

    • hector – can only currently assign a 91 Act tenancy to a very restricted number of family members. What’s being proposed is ability to assign to *anybody* (although for a finite period as an LDT)

      • Wrong Neil,read the 2003 act .
        A 91 act tenancy can be converted to a 25yr LDT and then assigned to anybody.

        • hector, I respectfully think you’re mistaken. Under 2003 Act (section 2) a 91 Act tenancy can only be converted to an LDT if the landlord agrees. If the L doesn’t agree (he has a power of veto), then the enlarged powers of assignation under an LDT (sec. 7 of 2003 Act) don’t come into play. Don’t you agree?

  7. Landlords will probably lobby for a power of veto over this too.

    • Maybe, but it would render a central proposal of the report meaningless so I don’t think the SG would give in. They’d be as well to just pull it altogether.

  8. Most Lairds would jump at the chance to swap a 91 act tenancy for an LDT.

  9. The landlords are now closer than ever to achieving their wish, ridding the country of security of tenure. Helped along with Lochhead, his own words were ‘protecting the tenancy sector’ i hope he understands that protecting the tenancy sector means only one thing- PROTECTING LANDLORDS.
    Unfortunately Lochhead has ignored the figures. He wants more land to be tenanted/let, then why has he not followed the evidence and taken the first step of making substantially more owner occupiers. Then as night follows day farmers let out land. Instead he told us of the increase in LDTs and SLDTs, this is nothing to boast about. Within a generation we will have a huge section of our agricultural land being farmed by individuals which will have to tell their children ‘there is no future here for you’
    Today’s reality is that young new entrants are starting to get fed up with placing bids for 5yr lets, they have to watch the established farmer bump the price up. I know 4 youngish/newish entrants, they all have kept their jobs as well as the ground they run. They cant afford to invest anything, the mood is changing, we have a real problem on our hands. If we are serious about getting young farmers to put roots down and get a start in farming then we must strip out the exaggerated cost of land. Create more crofts and smaller units where there is a real and affordable option of purchase. Then, your young folk have real security and crucially they can diversify. We simply have to get a much greater pool of ownership, the best of the young folk today who have the ability, are too smart to devote their life to the landlords game.

  10. SS, can I ask (in a totally open minded way, this is not some loaded rhetorical way of disagreeing with you) why a tenant would buy his holding and then immediately let it out as night follows day? That seems to imply he doesn’t need it to farm himself so folk might wonder why he made such a fuss about getting a compulsory right to buy it.

    • I think what he means is you would get a set of landowners with a totally different mindset who would share (rent or partner) their land with the younger generation as they became older and utilise the enthusiasm of youth. They would also probably be able to do without all the “advisors” who only want to amalgamate so their fees go up accordingly and listen to their own advice as they could think for themselves.

  11. What is the attraction of let land? Everything should be owner occupied and bury the tenanted sector for good.

  12. Neil, the tenants who become owner occupiers wont immediately let out their holding. But some of the older tenants might let out a couple of fields for cropping and a bit of hill for grazing, phasing into retirement. Then they might sell half the farm. Land cost is crucial. We have heard so many times the problem of elderly tenants not moving on (churn as the land agents call it) i don’t think this is a bad thing. I think it is of benefit to the agricultural community to have the experience still in place. If they owned the farm then retirement houses can be built, or a new house for the new entrant. At the moment there is nowhere for an elderly tenant farmer to retire to!
    i know many people will have a problem with the cost of land and my theory, but in reality your most serious new entrants these days are aged between 35 and 45. They could aim to have saved up a deposit to buy a small farm. Instead what we have is a system where these guys try to get their hands on as much ground as possible (subsidised by their job) and then basically farm a larger area to a poorer standard. Opportunities for others are then restricted and ultimately our land becomes run down and there is virtually no investment of money put into the land/fixed equipment. We are rapidly loosing the connection between a farming family- the farm house and -the land, within the community.

    • Thanks SS, I hear what you say. I think ARTB was doomed from the outset in the context of the present review because it took the tenant system as it stands at present to be a good thing to be maintained. if the review had been about how to stimulate family farming generally, then the result may have been different …