Committee asks for views on holdings legislation

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The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee is asking for views from organisations and individuals on the Scottish Government’s plans to amend legislation relating to succession and rent review.

The legislation aims to create a better environment for the letting of farmland to the tenant farming sector and encourage new entrants into tenant farming. Specifically, the Bill proposes three changes to the current law on agricultural holdings:

• it extends the categories of relative who may succeed to a secure agricultural tenancy to include grandchildren;

• it prevents certain restrictions for rent reviews in limited duration tenancies; and

• it clarifies that any variation of rent as a consequence of the exemption, addition or variance of VAT, would not prevent referral to the Scottish Land Court to determine the rent.

Committee Convener Rob Gibson MSP is encouraging all who have evidence relevant to this proposed reform of agricultural tenancies to write to the Committee.

Mr Gibson said: “Widespread discussion is a perennial topic whenever land use is mentioned. Debate surrounding the sustainability of tenant farming and of acquisition of farms for new entrants makes written evidence of a high quality vital to the Committee’s role of scrutinising the proposed Bill.

“Whilst evidence submitted should be focussed on the proposals in the Bill, we are also mindful of wider land reform issues which are an on-going commitment in our Committee work programme. All evidence we receive will be assessed and debated, both in terms of the Agricultural Holdings (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill and in terms of the Committee’s wider land reform recommendations to the Scottish Government.”